Très Click: Vintage Pin-Ups, Ideological Sweaters, and More

Vintage Pin-Ups Before and After
When people talk about retouched images, its almost always with a scoff and one word dripping with disdain: “Photoshop.” Computers and technology often take the blame for unrealistic depictions of women in the media, but how do you explain the time before everyone starting airbrushing skinny models into oblivion? Sociological Images shows side-by-side the “pre-photoshop examples of the kind of free-reign that artists had in idealizing their subject.”

The Strong, Star-Bright Companions
Ellen Lesperance has a project: she “seeks out women involved in direct-action campaigns who are wearing sweaters that, in some way, reflect their ideological intentions.” I love the idea of strong women literally wearing their hearts on their sleeves.

Fashion Moves Into The Museums
I always look forward to fashion exhibitions in museums, but they are mostly few and far between. The New York Times interviews several curators who are either presently or preparing to stage fashion exhibits at some of the world’s most prestigious museums. Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, wisely points out that these exhibits are “commercially as well as cerebrally motivated.” “‘Most museum administrators are not particularly keen on fashion because it is not generally considered art, and these shows do take place at art museums, but they recognize that they are popular with the public.’” Heck yeah they are popular with the public. How many pretty paintings of Renaissance nudes can I possibly look at? I need some real life McQueens!

Meet Max…
Our very own trailblazing former intern is now contributing to the Shameless blog! He’ll be publishing his brilliant thoughts on the intersection between gay rights and feminism. Go read!

- Haley Mlotek

Oops, They Did it Again

It’s been quite a year for airbrush backlash. Just last February, raw photos of Madonna were “leaked” (I parenthesize because I can’t believe Madonna had nothing to do with their surfacing) and Monica Belucci appeared sans fards on the cover of French Elle. Then Talk left Claudia Schiffer untouched and, just this month, Marie Claire let Jessica Simpson go bare-faced (I have to admit she looks smashing). And then there was Kim “Not a Celebrity” Kardashian and Sarah “Look, There’s Russia” Palin, and so on and so on.

Now, Britney Spears has given her blessing for pre-shop photos from her new Candies campaign to appear next to their post-production counterparts, ostensibly to expose the illusion of modern image enhancement.

While, in theory, I applaud the idea of wanting to show some semblance of reality, people also need to realize these women are hardly common specimens. Seeing Monica Bellucci without foundation is hardly like looking in a mirror (for me, at least), and I’d venture to say Madonna is not representative of most 50 year old women. These women are blessed with great genes and an army of trainers and aestheticians. I should hope they look nice without makeup.

But even more importantly (and as our editor so rightly pointed out) why is no one questioning the fact that “professional” photography has gotten to the point where it cannot stand without extensive post production? So many of these “before” pictures are JUST BAD CRAFT. If our Brit didn’t have a single spot of cellulite, three bruises and a camel toe (funny how they didn’t highlight that), this would still be a TERRIBLE PICTURE. It’s like everyone’s just stopped trying because they know they can fix it later.

Finally (am I a fashion conspiracist?) in the copy that accompanies this latest, Britney is quoted as saying, “My favorite set-up was against the gigantic wall of pink cotton candy.”

Really? Because it seems that wall only appears after the shots have been retouched.