I leaf through beauty magazines and see beautiful photographs. Dreamy settings, golden light, captivating portraits, amazing dresses. I am captivated. Then my brain starts registering. Skin and bones. In between, no flesh.
I leaf through another beauty magazine and read a moving article about Isabelle Caro’s death. Because of anorexia. I cannot help but seeing all the irony in it. Magazines promoting elusive beauty and thinness now cry the death of an anorexic model, with deep emotion and concern about this plague.
Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani realized a campaign against anorexia with Isabelle Caro for fashion brand Nolita. His photographs portrayed the horror and despair of a person struggling against her body.
I look again at other fashion photographs. I cannot compare them to Oliviero Toscani’s work. They are two worlds apart.
I often wonder which are the limits and the link between good photography and ethic. I look again and again at those fashion photographs and for much that I like them, it’s just a question of technique. Nothing breaks into my soul. Sublime technique doesn’t mean perfection to me, nor Beauty. A photograph has to tell me a story, whisper words to my soul, move me and even slap my face. It has to have a meaning.
I close those magazines and remember the words of a song: “beauty magazines promote low self-esteem“. I could not agree more when I look at some fashion photographs, at their golden light and luxurious dresses awkwardly trying to hide lack of flesh and above all of love.
No music nor words. These images already say it all.