Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2007/10/01

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Subject: [Leica] re: portrait of elizabeth (secrets revealed)
From: kididdoc at (Steve Barbour)
Date: Mon Oct 1 09:36:31 2007
References: <4268A9826B9DBE4D938B902A6BC80308394511@exchange8.asc.local>

On Sep 30, 2007, at 9:38 PM, Kyle Cassidy wrote:

>> indeed correct Kyle, more than correct...since she as photographed
>> looks roughly 14-16 yo...
>> by choice I guess...
>> I looked at her web site, so I knew she was 33yo.
>> So why did you and she make her look 20 years younger...and put her
>> into that setting...?
>> Why indeed?
>> The answer can indeed be found in google...more likely in the words
>> ambiguity, titillation, exploitation, opportunism...
> If I could by choice make women look half their age, I wouldn't be  
> photographing war veterans, I'd be photographing the cover of Vogue  
> every month. Fortunately for Liz, and unfortunately for me, that's  
> just simply the way she looks, we didn't do makeup or styling, it  
> was a spur of the moment thing in the last hour of a Sunday afternoon.
> But Steve makes an extremely important point. If I'd posted this  
> image with the subject line "Photo of my friend Elizabeth" -- my  
> guess is that a few people would have clicked on it, but not nearly  
> as many as actually did because they suspected they were to see  
> something on the very edges of propriety. My own somewhat  
> vacillating definition of "work safe" is "no more skin than you can  
> see on prime time U.S. television commercials" -- so there was  
> obviously nothing that I thought wasn't work safe about this photo  
> -- you can see this much skin in church on Sunday in most places in  
> America, and were there a teenager standing on a street corner  
> holding a scarf in her mouth like that not even Jerry Fallwell  
> would have pulled his car over to tell her to stop making a  
> scandal. So, as Steve correctly points out, I am guilty of  
> attempting to mislead people into thinking the photo is naughtier  
> than _I_ think it is. But if I'm doing that because i'm trying to  
> be ironic or truculent, I can't honestly say, it's just what comes  
> out of my mouth.
> I do think that if I'd titled it "photo of my 16 year old chewing  
> on a brightly colored piece of fabric" people would have probably  
> said "very funny image!"  and nobody would have thought it  
> inappropriate and we all would have gone on about our business --  
> it would be an interesting experiment. But what lead anyone to  
> suspect that there was something off kilter here? I don't think it  
> was the image, I think it was a combination of the title, and the  
> revelation that what people thought at first was a necktie was  
> actually a skirt -- somehow that seems racier than a tie. Those two  
> bits of information tint the way we view the photo. After all, the  
> same photo titled "sleeping man" and "murder victim" elicit  
> different reactions from us, despite the fact that there is no  
> visual difference. (as an anecdotal aside, I had someone on  
> rate an image I took of president bush with a single star  
> -- the photo wasn't about to win a Pulitzer, but it was obviously  
> competent and the viewer gave it a rating based on something other  
> than it's visual merits.)
> over the last ... nine years ... I've posted far more scandalous  
> things than Liz chewing on a skirt here. I must admit that I'm  
> surprised that this one generated that much attention for anything  
> other than the lighting, which i think is nice, but I'm happy for  
> the opportunity to discuss what are very relevant, deeper, and more  
> important issues of age, gender, and propriety in photography in  
> general and fashion in particular. Next time you're in a dentists  
> office and pick up a copy of Cosmo, or Vogue, or W -- think about  
> Steve's valid criticism -- where does all this fit in with  
> "ambiguity, titillation, exploitation, opportunism..." -- because  
> he's right, it's all there. But why do we click on it? Why do we  
> read it? Why do we buy it?

good questions all...

thanks Kyle,


> kc
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> Leica Users Group.
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Replies: Reply from walt at (Walt Johnson) ([Leica] re: portrait of elizabeth (secrets revealed))
In reply to: Message from kcassidy at (Kyle Cassidy) ([Leica] re: portrait of elizabeth (secrets revealed))