Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Controversy Surrounding the Italian Vogue Oil Spill Shoot is a Good Thing

For those who aren't aware, there has been a lot of controversy in the fashion community recently surrounding a shoot by Italian Vogue that essentially casts models as dying birds and places them in a scene reminiscent of the Gulf Coast oil spill. The questions is: is this tastelessly glamorizing a horrifying situation, or is it a call to action?
Before I give my opinion, I think it's important to note that there ARE some accessories in the shoot that are actually made by gulf artists FROM materials washed up in the spill. (Source)

That said, the commentary and outrage surrounding this shoot is exactly what the shoot was designed to do: inspire strong emotions and a new discourse just when the oil spill was starting to be "yesterday's news." How many people can sit around whining about how "they could've spent that money on something to help the spill" without then realizing that their money can ALSO be spent to help the spill, instead of buying starbucks or new shoes or whatever? Surely a few people out there will realize the hypocrisy of sitting around complaining about the shoot not donating money, when they themselves are also sitting idly with money they could donate. And those few people may not have realized the depth of their inaction without the outrage of this shoot. It's acting as another wakeup call. It asks us, "Do you really want to spend money on bullshit rather than help out this spill? Do you want to be like us?" It's an provoking statement that goes above and beyond what would be considered acceptable in order to prod us into action lest we fall into the same category of glamorous apathy.

Another accomplishment of the shoot, at least to me, is humanizing the suffering of the animals injured by the spill. Some people may actually have the ability to look at a dying bird covered in oil and not be very affected by it (assholes). However, most people, when faced with the suffering, choking and expiring of a member of their own species - in this case, attractive females - will feel strongly enough to identify with the object in the photo and thus humanize the suffering of the animals enough to feel a new kind of sympathy for them. When I look at the photos, I can imagine myself in place of the models, which causes me to empathize with the poor animals affected by the shoot in a NEW way. Bravo Italian Vogue!

What do you think of the shoot? Speak your mind!


Dorm Bedding said...

Well, while I think it is in poor taste, I'm not really offended by it. Photography is art, & art, in its essence, is open for interpretation.

Anonymous said...



very different approach... for sure not in usa vogue.... ;)