Leave it to the folks of Vogue Italia to create a photo shoot so provocative, compelling, timely and beautiful that the rest of world has little choice but to take notice.
The shoot depicts silver-haired Kristen McMenamy striking poses on an oil-soaked coastline like a dying bird covered in black liquid. The idea, of course, was to imitate the dead and dying oil-covered pelicans that have washed onto the shores of gulf coast since the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April. The 24-page cover spread in the August issue was shot by Steven Meisel, who reportedly has a history of creating edgy, environmentally themed photo shoots.
And there’s a jewelry twist. The necklaces and other jewelry pieces that drape McMenamy like black seaweed were created from recycled inner tubes from the Gulf Coast by Kathleen Nowak Tucci of My Sister’s Art.
The cover spread has drawn a lot of controversy in the U.S., most of it negative. But who cares? There will always be the feeble minded and emotionally squeamish who will hide behind the walls of their own prejudices rather than honestly try to understand what is being communicated.
Tucci, a Gulf Coast resident, on her Web site addressed the controversy as follows: “I do not consider this fashion editorial to be a glamorization of the oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. I thought it was disturbing and thought provoking and utterly fascinating in its interpretation of the struggle for survival. It is controversial and interpretative which is indicative of great artistic expression. I am honored to have my work included in this small way toward the significant artistic vision of Steven Meisel and Karl Templer.”
So enjoy the photographs and a video of the shoot for yourself on the Vogue Italia Web site.
And here’s an opinion I like even though she calls the photo spread, “dreadfully ugly.”