A recent addition to our blogroll is the site feature shoot which has just published an interview with Lauren Fleishman about an interesting and confusing set of pictures that M. Scott and I previously discussed here on Dva in this post about the Oct/Nov 08 issue of FADER.
I wrote then:
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.
I had forgotten about this piece until we received an interesting (but unconfirmed and anonymous, of course) comment on that post, which is still up.
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.
Now, after reading the interview and learning more about how this shoot was set up and the relationship between the photographer, subject and magazine I’m ever more curious about ‘why’ this project was done like this. Again, the pictures are beautiful and I don’t think I have a real problem with it overall: everyone was consenting and more or less forward about the situation. Maybe this is just my reaction to having an unusual model? But then again, the documentary look of the pictures is deceiving (was to me at least). I haven’t written my editors at the Fader (disclosure: I have shot assignments for them) and maybe I will, but I’m curious about your reactions first? What about using a documentary ‘style’ with ‘set up’ shots?