21 December 2010


I just received my January issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Aside from the banal cover with a 14 year old model, the thing that bothered me was the use of animals in the Spring fashion spread.

How unimaginative and insensitive. Animal prints equals: use animals?

Such lack of imagination. Animals have been used for decades in fashion spreads, but haven’t we evolved enough to know that the other animals we share the earth with have lives and emotions too?

Most people looking at these pictures don’t realize the torment that animals go through when subjected to our human vanity games.

As a stylist I have been on a set where an owl had to be kept awake for hours in order to get a shot during the day. A room had to be kept at a certain temperature to keep a snake awake and a stick used to annoy it so that it would rise up.

Once on a shoot for a clothing company, the prop stylist bought a puppy from a pet store in a mall. The puppy happily played all day in the park feeling like he had found his family and then was returned to the pet store at the end of the day; like a pair of shoes that didn’t fit.

On a commercial set, hawks were made to fly across a fake moon, but they often couldn’t tell where they were flying and crashed repeatedly into the ceiling and then were forced to do it again.

In this issue of Bazaar, they use non-domesticated animals as props. Baby leopards, tigers, deer, rabbits, snakes. Where do these animals come from? What are they doing in a photo studio? A fashion magazine is not their habitat. Could this editor and photographer not come up with a novel idea? No. They resorted to the old “let’s use animals to illustrate these animal prints”. And the pictures are not even compelling.

The imaginations as well as the consciousness of those running this magazine are dead and wild animals can’t bring it back.

I love fashion. It doesn’t have to be shallow, insensitive and unaware, like Harper’s Bazaar.

do you see anything fabulous about these photos? i don't. i see an uncomfortable girl standing in an empty set with some out-of-place wild animals.


naeiri k said...

i'm 100% with you - as i was looking at these pics this weekend i couldn't understand why they needed these poor animals to illustrate.... to illustrate what, exactly? such a plain, boring shoot. i had the same exact thoughts about how UNfabulous these pix are. these are not donaldson's best pictures or anywhere close - she looks out of place & freaked out & awkward. i really liked what you wrote - you should email it in to harper's.

bg said...

Thanks, Naeiri, I think I will. The whole issue was completely boring and irritating.

Maya said...

Well articulated! Animal prints should echo and evoke the beauty of nature not be another excuse to exploit them. Did you write in to Harpers? You must!

bg said...

I sent a letter to the editor in chief. They don't seem to publish letters. I haven't heard anything, but I won't be renewing my subscription to such drivel.