Yesterday, Jezebel posted an open call offering anyone $10,000 who can deliver un-retouched photos from Lena Dunham's Vogue shoot. Less than 24 hours and…voila! In fact, it only took Jezebel two hours to get six allegedly unaltered images from the actress' Annie Leibovitz shoot. Jezebel points out in detail the exact visual edits, of which there weren't that many. Jezebel is, of course, trying to give the few changes that were made some meaning in a larger context:
"In the end, while Dunham's images were not drastically altered, it's important to remember how unforgiving the media is when it comes to images of women. Men are generally allowed to have pores and wrinkles; women are supposed to be 'perfect' — a state that does not exist. As Mother Jones' co-editor Clara Jeffrey put it on Twitter: 'If [Lena]'s given us an image of a real woman on Girls, and they altered — perhaps without her consent, isn't that a paradox that should be explored?'"
To their point, in the bathtub image that also features Adam Driver, he was not Photoshopped at all, with the exception of his leg, which was raised to come up out of the water, but there's still no denying this whole fiasco was much ado about nothing.
Last night, Dunham tweeted, "Some shit is just too ridiculous to engage. Let's use our energy wisely, 2014."
Jezebel has just posted a call offering $10,000 for unretouched photos of Lena Dunham's Vogue cover and editorial spread:
"Lena Dunham is a woman who trumpets body positivity, who's unabashedly feminist, who has said that her naked body is 'a realistic expression of what it's like to be alive' and 'if you are not into me, that's your problem.' Her body is real. She is real. And for as lovely as the Vogue pictures are, they're probably not terribly real. So Jezebel is offering $10,000 for pre-Photoshop images from Lena's Vogue shoot."
The online publication notes that Vogue has a well-documented history of heavy photo manipulation and also that the prolific celebrity and fashion photographer, Annie Leibovitz — who photographed Dunham for the glossy's February Issue — has openly admitted that she doctors images.
One could find a couple problems with this project:
1) Good luck finding a fashion publication that doesn't retouch its images. Vogue almost certainly did use Photoshop in this instance — but also in every other instance, ever.
2) If we accept my first point, that raises the question: Why is Jezebel trolling for proof of the widely-used industry practice in this specific case?
Dunham is famously open about the fact that she doesn't fit into a size two. (Or four, or six.) Because Vogue typically photographs very thin women, whenever a non-straight-sized body appears in the pages of the magazine, it is notable. This time, the glossy didn't shy away from showing Dunham's body and dressing it in beautiful, covetable clothing. It's a pretty remarkable thing: A talented young woman, who may not be as conventionally attractive as other female celebrities, was the true star of a Vogue fashion shoot.
Isn't it kind of shame-y and weird to suggest that she couldn't have looked so good without a big spoonful of Photoshop sugar? Especially since everyone has their photos retouched for the pages of Vogue, even models?
"To be very clear: Our desire to see these images pre-Photoshop is not about seeing what Dunham herself 'really' looks like; we can see that every Sunday night or with a cursory Google search. She's everywhere. We already know what her body looks like. There's nothing to shame here. Nor is this rooted in criticism of Dunham for working with Vogue. Entertainment is a business, after all, and Vogue brings a level of exposure that exceeds that of HBO.
This is about Vogue, and what Vogue decides to do with a specific woman who has very publicly stated that she's fine just the way she is, and the world needs to get on board with that. Just how resistant is Vogue to that idea? Unaltered images will tell."
Okay. Personally, I think this project has very little to do with feminism or making any kind of political or moral statement and everything to do with pageviews. If Jezebel gets its hands on undoctored images, no matter how unremarkable they are, it'll be a huge traffic coup. The publication established its reputation using this exact technique in 2007, when it published a disturbing before/after Photoshop cover with Faith Hill for Redbook; the photograph was acquired following an open call asking readers to submit the most shocking example of Photoshop retouching by a women's magazine. A reward was offered for $10,000.
This is not unusual practice. Another Gawker Media site, Gizmodo, reportedly paid $5,000 for an iPhone prototype in 2010. Gawker was said to have tried a similar tactic with someone connected to the Balloon Boy story, to prove that it was a hoax. Other publications, like TMZ and the National Enquirer, are known to pay sources regularly. Even a more traditional news outlet, CBS, reportedly agreed to pay Casey Anthony $200,000 for materials to use for broadcast.
The unifying characteristics of all of these stories? They are pretty trashy, they aren't about anything — but they do attract a lot of attention. And that's worth money.
DNAinfo New York reports that a full service salon and spa catering to children will soon open on Myrtle Avenue in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. It's called A Kid's Dream, which is confusing because sitting still in a chair with someone poking at your head is not really the thing kids dream of, in my experience.
According to the website, the facility will offer a variety of unique services: "Kiddie" blowouts and perms, candy facials, glitter spray updos, nail art, make-your-own lip gloss sessions and lice treatments.
Upon entering, children will be provided with slippers, a robe and an iPad loaded up with educational materials. DNAinfo quotes a spokesperson who explains that "the theme is to combine hair services with the opportunity for kids to receive education."
The salon was founded by a 34-year-old former teacher, "because she noticed a lack of salon services for children in the neighborhood."
Services will reportedly be priced from $25 for a basic haircut to $125 for manicures and facials.
A Kid's Dream is currently hiring; check out their job portal for open positions.
[Kiddie Blowouts and Candy Facials Coming to Myrtle Avenue — DNAinfo New York]
In a profile about Karolina Kurkova's steady rise to fame published today in The New York Times, legendary fashion photographer Albert Watson was quoted making a candid comparison between Kurkova and the patron saint of model-celebrities, Kate Moss.
“She’s not at the point where people on the street know who she is,” said Watson, of Kurkova. "But she’s a much better model than Kate Moss ever was. Sometimes notoriety is what you really need to become known.”
Although of course the British model enjoys a good amount of notoriety, and that has certainly helped her secure fame, it's not really fair to ascribe Moss' stunning career entirely to her tumultuous romantic history and alleged drug use. Furthermore, Watson's supposition that people on the street wouldn't know the 5' 11" Czech model by name, much less recognize her as a top model, is suspect. According to a very informal, unscientific poll conducted on Gchat five minutes ago: even among fashion illiterates, Kurkova already enjoys celebrity status. Also, I'm pretty sure even my parents know who she is.
And as for Watson's comparison, what do you make of the claim that Kurkova is a better model than Moss? Personally, I think it's bunk. Clearly Moss is an incredible model, so is Kurkova — and so what? Life isn't always a reality show; there are no winners.
Related: After ‘The Face’ Finale: An Interview with Karolina Kurkova and [Spoiler!] Winner Devyn Abdullah
Last week, we reported that Lottie Moss, Kate's 16-year-old sister, had just signed with Storm Models and was poised to become famous in her own right (is it crass to say that outright?). Today, Dazed Digital posted photos from mini-Moss' first-ever editorial shoot, which will appear in Dazed & Confused's February Issue.
For the shoot, Lottie was photographed by Sean and Seng and styled in a variety of age appropriate looks (by designers like Pringle of Scotland and Marc Jacobs) by Robbie Spencer.
Dazed also features a brief Q&A with the promising young model, in which she reveals that she loves sloths, sleeps curled up in a bottle, didn't actually read the Harry Potter series (but pretends she has), and kissed someone two weeks ago. Delightful.
[From Lottie With Love — Dazed Digital]
Previously: Meet the Next Kate Moss (Her Little Sister, Lottie): The 16-Year-Old Just Signed with Storm Models
You may be familiar with Red Bull Catwalk Studio which launched in 2011 to give emerging musicians the opportunity to work with fashion designers, and this January, they’ve teamed up with Fashion East Menswear Installations.
Fashion East has notably launched many of London’s top design talent in its quest to nurture and showcase emerging designers as part of its Menswear Installations initiative, with alumni including the likes of Meadham Kirchoff and Sibling. For Fall 2014, the installations include several handpicked emerging menswear designers being punted as ones to watch, such as the shirt maker Massimo Casagrande (below) and Nicomede Talavera, a talented Central Saint Martins graduate.
Image: Red Bull Catwalk Studio
This season, the Red Bull Catwalk Studio has specially selected some of the best up and coming musicians to create made-to-measure mix tapes to play alongside the designers’ showcases. Selected artists include singer-songwriter Rudi Zygadlo and DJ-Remixer Ronika. The interrelation between fashion and music will always be highly intertwined, so combining the two together to promote up and coming talent within both fields is a perfect partnership.
You can find out more about the installations on Fashion East’s site, or if you fancy having a listen to the mixes, head over to the Red Bull Catwalk Studio.