Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Model Maker.

Mr. Steven Meisel is unparalleled in the field of popular fashion photography. He is the industry's greatest living, working talent. He still uses his genius eye to pluck girls from relative obscurity and sky rocket them to fame via his covers of Italian Vogue (of which he has shot every single one since 1988), or his shoots for American Vogue. Just like the models say in the Cathy Horyn praised May Vogue profile of the super photographer, Meisel changed my relationship to fashion. In fact he opened my eyes to a whole new world. This exact shoot, for the pages of Vogue's December 1992 issue, was my first addictive dose of amazing fashion photography.

I was 10. I was so besotted with Kristin McMenamy's eyebrowless, chiseled face, and her dark hair, and pale skin that I clipped her picture from the glossy mag and taped it into my grade school diary (see first photo above!). There was something absolutely magic about it. I can even feel it now when I look at it. I think the idea that a woman could look that strange, that different, and be the main attraction in a Vogue portfolio just totally cracked my ten year old world view wide open. That's Meisel's magic; take the quirky beauty (or classic, whatever) and highlight her amazing features until she looks like an otherworldly creature who somehow alighted on earth through divine intervention. His talent for doing so is unmatched and has been for about 30 years. Kristen and the elusive Steven creature are both snapped by the photog in the new May Models issue of Vogue.

In his profile writer Jonathan Van Meter makes much of Steven's reclusive nature, and I'm thinking maybe I've discovered the reason behind it. Maybe Mr. Meisel is just hiding from this cameo he made in the 1983 film Portfolio, which has surfaced on the internets thanks to Youtube.

I must admit that I cannot say with confidence whether this video is the real deal or not, but I think it could be. Either way, don't worry Steven, your genius far outweighs your early penchant for frosty lipgloss. And anyways, it was the '80s! We as a nation were in love with Paula Abdul and puffy sleeves, thus all indiscretions are null and void. You can come out of hiding. Have a splashy museum retrospective, put out a giant book, or maybe dance down fifth avenue with Linda on your arm. Whatever you want. You can do no wrong.

1 comment:

ellastica said...

it's so great to read your personal experience with the way this ed shaped your world view. it's rare, to read this kind of thing, versus some regurgitation from Fashion Spot.
i still have this issue. funnily enough, it has it's own place at Experience Music Project in Seattle!
i think it got reprinted for the cover of Italian GLAMOUR? i actually love reprints. i'm curious to see other 'versions' of this.
beyond radical editorial styling and personal taste, i always thought that Kristen was a classic beauty ( her ski jump, Barbie nose!), upon closer inspection.