Wednesday, April 2, 2008
you didn't think i was going to let the week go by without talking about this photo from the "Students of Virginity" article in the New York Times Magazine, did you?
in the past, i've discussed the way in which editorial photography stands apart from other portraiture. in this case, the editorial perspective is fairly extreme. the article seemed to me bent on portraying Janie Fredell of Harvard's True Love Revolution chastity club as a someone who is certainly determined (and chaste), but maybe a little annoying or misguided (oxytocin bonds you like emotional superglue to your first sex partner?). maybe that was the reporter's take on her, or the editor's, but it seems to have seeped into the art direction for the photography as well. or is it just me?
Fredell stares at us fiercely in Katherine Wolkoff's portrait, without a smile — though her fierceness is a bit offset by the casual drape of her arm. the photo caption tells us that "virginity is extremely alluring," as she says, and indeed both the virginity and the allure are present. it's hard to know, in the collaboration between subject, photographer, and editor, just whose choice it was to pick a bright clean white room, a white eyelet blouse with a gathered hook & eye bust, or the saintly backlit window light, which in turn makes the focus a bit soft all over.
(question: is the real punctum her deep philtrum, or the hint of a locket tucked away under her blouse?)
did anyone else react to this picture? or the ones of Harvard's other True Love revolutionaries?
to see more of Katherine Wolkoff's work, check out her site here. i especially like this project, and i like her new work on deerbeds.