Monday, February 18, 2008

the first new last sitting

i saw Bert Stern's new photographs of Lindsay Lohan, "recreating" the "Last Sitting" shoots he did with Marilyn Monroe in 1962. i think if anything, they offer an interesting commentary on how our relationship to celebrity and celebritic age, tragedy & drama have evolved in the past 46 years. our appetite for intimacy in photography has increased as well. but nudity is a poor substitute for intimacy here. and while mimetic nostalgia can be fun to play with (and seems appropriately postmodern), it's nothing without that spark.

perhaps this behind-the-scenes description from New York Magazine, where the photos are published, offers some insight: "The original photos, however, were distinguished by an almost claustrophobic intimacy between photographer and muse. In the first session, Stern persuaded the entourage of stylists to leave him alone with Monroe. The shoot thus took on the symbolic (if not the actual) contours of a liaison. The rise of the celebrity industrial complex has rendered this sort of tense pas de deux all but impossible. At the Lohan shoot, the crowd included Lohan’s manager, her security guard, and her younger sister, Ali; a makeup artist and assistant, a hairstylist and assistant, a stylist, a manicurist, a sentry to watch the borrowed diamonds; Stern, his manager, and two photo assistants. Lohan and Stern worked in an adjoining room, while the rest of us hovered outside like groupies at a backstage entrance."

this makes me think again of how successful Ryan McGinley's breakthrough performances images were. i think, as A Photo Editor pointed out, that some of the shock and beauty of the McGinley photographs is how un-handled the shoots seemed.

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