Fader 57 – The Photo Special

Fan favorite The Fader this week released its latest issue, “57” (pdf download). It is the annual Photo Special and has, coincidentally, one of my favorite bands (who I wrote about earlier this week) on the cover: TV on the Radio.

Fader 57: The Photo Special. October/November 2008

Firstly, congrats to the staff including Phil and John Francis Peters who put together a bang-up issue of an already terrific publication. (Ed note: I am an occasional contributor to the Fader)

(c) Peter van Agtmael, The Fader (c) Gabriele Stablile, The Fader

Most important, and relevant, to us are the great photo essays included in the book including work by Peter van Agtmael: “American Wars”, Krisanne Johnson: “The Conundrum” and Gabriel Estabile: “Temporary Residence”.

Another time I’m sure I’ll gush more about the Fader’s use of photography and the brilliant art work led by Phil, but I think if you take a look at the mag you’ll understand this immediately on your own.

But what I’ve been stuck on from this issue is this story/project/something by Lauren Fleishman as the ‘Style’ section of the mag. (PS.. I enjoy Fleishman’s work, especially the piece .. which also appeared in the Fader .. about Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, another one of my favorite artists.)

I haven’t contacted anyone about this for their response, so please take this simply as a first impression and question: ‘what the heck is going on here?’.

(c) Lauren Fleishman, The Fader

Seemingly documentary pictures of an interesting person in a ‘hard’ situation (read the story on page 142 of the magazine, page 73 of the pdf), but all of the pictures are captioned with the clothes the woman is wearing. It seems to be another example of ‘real life people’ being used as models? (the toxic link: “Tasteless Vogue Photo Shoot” from Lightstalkers, about Vogue India using impoverished people to model luxury goods. Lets be clear, I don’t think there is exploitation going on in the Fader pictures, but it draws the comparison to other uses of ‘nonmodels’ and the possible implications). M. Scott and I both have seen things like this before, I think in the Fader too (examples elude me at the moment), and we’re more curious what their goals are, rather than their motives.

Frankly, I don’t get it and don’t know what to think. The pictures are beautiful. The woman has an incredible story. Definitely seems relevant and important; why the emphasis on the style not her story then? Are the pictures set up, are they actually portraits, or does it matter? What are your thoughts?

2 Responses to “Fader 57 – The Photo Special”

  1. M. Scott Brauer

    One other thing that’s come to mind about the fashion shoot is that we should be celebrating the fact that it’s not some barbie doll of a model in the pictures. While the girl is skinny and pretty, she’s at least a stone’s throw from the traditional fashion model look. We could (possibly) be celebrating that it’s not another anorexic-looking underage white girl in sexual poses (or rape poses, given some of Vogue Italy’s recent work…) selling us clothes.

  2. bubble burster

    A friend of mine assisted on that shoot. She said everything was set up, including fake tears. What’s worse is that Lucky was physically and verbally abusing her son the whole time. My friend was incredibly uncomfortable the whole time and can’t stand to look at the photos now. Despite that, FADER still puts out some incredible work.

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