Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Decorously uncovered on the cover of Vanity Fair, Scarlett Johansson lolls against a black bedspread and presents her buttocks. Nestled alongside her is Keira Knightley, coyly concealing her breasts while simultaneously flashing a come-hither look at the camera. "These are such beautiful women," gushes Tom Ford, the magazine's artistic director. "Who doesn't want to see a bit of them?"
Ford, incidentally, is also featured on the cover of this month's issue, lurking in the background where he is apparently engaged in sniffing the inside of Knightley's ear. This is oddly fitting. He looks like some degenerate tourist who has been caught humping a waxwork in Madame Tussaud's.
And therein lies the problem with this Vanity Fair fleshpot. It is neither arousing enough to sate the masturbators, nor artistic enough to appeal to the aesthetes. In trying to have it both ways, it ends up falling between the (butt) crack. [heehhee too funny that he actually inserted the obvious word within parenthesis ]
Much of the problem stems from the magazine's garbled (and surely disingenuous) remit. Keira and Scarlett are, we are told, not naked but nude. Naked celebrities are the ones you see cavorting on beaches in out-of-focus paparazzi shots or resuscitating their career on the pages of Maxim or GQ. Nude ones, by contrast, are confident, empowered artists who just happen to have shed all their clothes and fallen over on a bedspread.
We can debate the semiotics of soft-core titillation until the cows come home. That doesn't alter the immediate, unedifying spectacle of a pair of chalky, corpse-like creatures being mauled by their "artistic director". [haaahhaha]
Apparently there is still more of this necrophilia-chic inside the magazine, with one photo showing Angelina Jolie in a bath-tub. Perhaps she will be depicted as bloated, bedraggled and as white as a fish's belly, like that ghost-woman in The Shining.
Tom Ford is only half-right. Yes, Jolie, Knightley and Johansson are all "beautiful women". But no, I don't want to see "a bit of them", at least not when they look as though they've just been wheeled out of a morgue. If Vanity Fair is going to peddle smut, I can't help feeling that they should be honest about it. Strip away the chill whiff of pretension. Give us long-lens shots of topless movie stars. Give us no-frills spreads of minor starlets grinning to camera. Let us have the nakeds and not the nudes.
My favorite comments (so far):
Oh and Keira Knightley should really eat a sandwich.
On the other hand, a fully-clothed 'older' man posed alongside two undressed young women is a perfect encapsulation of Hollywood.
And is it just me or is there something odd about the way Johahnssen is lying - looks very uncomfortable. And frankly it isn't a Goya, so stop trying to pretend it is. What is meant to be the point of this? Apart from 'ooh look, we have young stars on our cover.' But they all get their way - everyone is talking Vanity Fair and les stars. (But is Keira Knightly really a star? I hope not.)
Does Scarlett bear a marked, and disapointing, resemblence to Chelsea Clinton in the photo? [too funny]
At least looking at Keira Knightly is slightly less painful than listening to her accent - and yes she really does need to eat some food and get out in the sun.
And speaking as a photographer, incredibly unoriginal composition, tired old poses and Scarlett looks mighty uincomfortable.