Is it magnetism?
I think itís some sort of charisma. Itís hard to explain. There were women that, while growing up, I found glamorous. But I never met or knew them. Could their magnetism come out through a photograph? I never knew Babe Paley, but I thought she was a glamorous woman.
Not knowing somebody intimately might make them more glamorous.
Well yes. That we know by now. Itís better not to meet your idols because in the end everybody is just human.
How do you feel about photographing friends?
I dread it. Itís just too personal. Itís my own fear of failure Ė like I might fail the person or canít live up to the expectations of what I really feel about them, my love or whatever it might be. With the girls that I know like Linda we can disassociate our personal feelings. But for me to take a portrait of my parents is just impossible!
Is there any glamorous imagery left in fashion today?
There is still a stylization and an idealization of women, but itís taken from the past. It is taken from the í20s, í30s, í40s, í50s, old Hollywood, the í70s, the Helmut Woman, the Guy Bourdin Woman. Iíve seen it all before!
Do you think Prada understands that?
They have a different sense of glamour. Itís more modern and relies less on clichťs like false eyelashes and lipstick and things that people think are obviously glamorous, like Marilyn Monroe. I like that too, but theirs is more intellectual.
Speaking of lipstick, what was ďA Sexual Revolution,Ē which you shot for W, about? It was like Fight Club in womenís lingerie.
I find that men are subject to the same idealization that women have always borne. It isnít exactly a feminization of men. Men have never really been considered sex objects. Yes, maybe someone would have said that a man was handsome, but it wasnít that he was made to be like women, always objectified and always nude, showing cleavage. With ďA Sexual Revolution,Ē I was saying that we have finally done it to the men. And I tried to pick men that were a little bit more androgynous. So it wasnít the typical hunky thing that people today consider the only way that a man has to look, just like a woman has to have breast implants, and a certain breast and waist size.
Society has finally come full circle and does the same thing with the men. I donít think this is a positive step forward in how we feel about ourselves.
So whatís your perspective on gender? If you could eliminate it from society, would you do it?
No. I would eliminate differences in social equality of course, but you canít change nature. I watch it in my dogs Ė my female dog is definitely a girl and my male dog is definitely a guy. Itís the same thing with my cats.
Madonna definitely made men into a sex object.
We did that together.
Well, what else did Sex do for culture?
It allowed people to not be so afraid of sex, or if anything to simply talk about it. Itís part of life too, although not necessarily the scenarios we illustrated. I think it helped people to not be so repressed.
Do you feel that now you could have pushed that book farther than you did?
Yes, absolutely, meaning her original idea did work; it did open peopleís eyes. Now you can go further. But I donít even know what that means. Mapplethorpe did all those sex pictures. I donít know what further could be. I am talking just in terms of commercial photography, what one is allowed to see in advertising and commercial magazines.
Iíve noticed you donít photograph nudes so often. Even in Madonnaís book, clothing is critical in every picture.
Because I am a fashion photographer and the job that I do is with clothing. I work everyday. I started out being a commercial photographer working for the magazines and advertisers, so I never really had time to try nudes. It doesnít come up. I would like to I guess, but on the weekends itís not like I want to take more pictures! Herb Ritts, who was a good friend, always managed to have his nude guys. If you want it enough you push it in there. But it wasnít as important to me. A lot of people get off on stuff, but itís not what I am really about.
So fashion photography doesnít have to be kinky to sell?
I think some of the most successful fashion pictures were just of beautiful clothes. I think that we have gone further and pushed it to kinky because clothes are such **** now. I shouldnít say that but itís not like when Irving Penn did a picture of an original Balenciaga where the dress was like architecture. Weíve become a world of H&M. If you are really selling T-shirts and jeans you have to be eye-catching because there are so many images out there. You are inundated all the time, whether itís on TV or the Internet, buses, bus stops, taxis, or billboards. I guess the only way to get peopleís attention is by trying to do something outrageous, but I donít think it needs to be kinky to be good.
Did you expect the Calvin Klein campaign to blow up the way it did?
Not at all. It was the period of grunge and I was working in a very isolated world of fashion, fashion photography, and models; to me, thatís what was going on! I didnít think much further into the world.
Was the FBI totally intrusive?
Yes. I had the whole thing. I think Clinton even mentioned the scandal.
At the time he was going after that and ďheroin chic.Ē
Right, and itís all so sick anyway. Heís getting blowjobs from someone in the office! No one was shooting dope on the set; no one was ****ing anybody or doing anything sex related. Itís middle America; itís the world. Itís a sick place out there. So no, I didnít expect anything.
How much do you obsess over choosing the right location and dressing the set?
I go as far as I can, until there is no more I can do, until Iíve spent the time, gone through all the location pictures, until itís too expensive and the client doesnít want to pay, or the place becomes unavailable, or you canít get the set decorator that you want.
Are you really concerned with every detail, the glass, and the silverware?
There is nothing I leave out. I just canít.
Do you storyboard sometimes?
No, I have it in my head. It doesnít work for me to storyboard things. I remember when I first met Mr. Liberman at Vogue, he used to storyboard and draw stories out. When we would have a meeting he would say we need a big hill here and this here and I tried Ė but itís not the way I do it. I understand Guy Bourdin used to do that. I usually have in my mind what everything is, which can be also very difficult. You have to explain it to many people many times, and still when I get there itís usually not the way I want it. I am asking people to interpret and itís not easy. They donít have the same eye as me.
Sometimes that interpretation actually helps, because theyíll see it in a fresh way.
Do you interior decorate your homes?
Oh yes, and that becomes problematic. I am not easy, but the people that I work with are insane as well! The guy I work with in New York is Peter Marino. We get along really well. I push him and he pushes me. I am very into what I am looking at visually, my room, my furniture, a fabric, a house, the architecture, decorating all of it.
Do you keep any of your photographs around?
I never did, not until this year.
What made the difference?
Firstly, Peter thought we should hang pictures up on certain walls. He asked if I had any framed pictures but I donít do that. I donít like to look at them because all I see are the things I didnít get right. So, itís difficult. Secondly, I never had pictures of people that I knew although I had tons of pictures of every body. But recently, I remembered somebody telling me that their therapist told them that itís important to have pictures of people that you know as well as pictures of yourself around.
Whatís the reason?
I guess to accept yourself in the end; to own yourself and to own those people that you love. So I thought it was crazy that I wasnít hanging pictures at home. Still when I walk past them itís hard. A lot of pictures are from the past and that always brings up melancholy and thatís not fun. I should look at it as a good thing, like its great that I knew this person or that person and so what if this one looks old now. There is the vanity issue there too. And people will come over and say, ďGosh, look at how young so-and-so looks.Ē [growls]
Would you ever pose for a photograph yourself?
I did once with Annie Leibovitz for the GAP. I think itís in the GAP book, which I donít have.
What does it feel like to be on the other side of the camera?
I hate it.
How about the movie camera?
Even worse, I despise someone filming me. A picture at least is frozen. But with film, you have to listen to your voice and you see your gestures. I am way too critical. I hate it.
But werenít you in that 1983 fashion flick Portfolio?
Yes. A friend convinced me to do it. But whatís shown in the movie isnít how I work and isnít what I do. Theyíd say, ďScream and smoke the cigarette, and make crazy eyes with Kim,Ē or whoever. And then: ďFinish, and jump up screaming.Ē Like an ******* I did it. It was better than doing a sex tape I guess. I was young and stupid, but if thatĎs the worst of it, then fine.
Well, your work is strikingly cinematic. Could you see yourself as a filmmaker?
I donít know if I could deal with the whole business out here in LA I go back and forth from here to New York, but I donít feel part of either community. I do love movies though.
Are there any you recommend?
I watch 8 1/2 a lot. I could watch anything by Fellini a million times! But, I canít deal with Satyricon or Roma any more. I love all the European movies. I like Antonioni. I can always watch Blow-Up because of course that was an inspiration, but not as much as I used to.
How about Breathless?
I am not in love.
Or one of my favorites, Paris Is Burning?
Yes. In fact I photographed Dorian, the older star and once judged a ball Ė they almost killed me. If they donĎt get a high mark, they hit you with the scoring card Ė I learned quickly.
Was it about ugliness?
I didnít find it ugly, what do you mean?
Those girls were not supermodels and their lives were not exactly beautiful.
I guess on a deeper level I found it sad. First of all they were men so they lived in a world of fantasy, hated by the rest of the world. At the very least, I think, they created a world of their own and were able to have some fun Ė society is cruel.
" Il Nuovo Stile "
VOGUE Italia July/Agust 1988
Photographer: Steven Meisel
Model: Robin MacKintosh/Women
Fashion Editor: uncredited
Art Director: Fabien Baron
Makeup: Laura Mercier
source : womenmanagement.blogspot
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes - Marcel Proust
Calvin Klein Forbidden Euphoria Fragrance
Sources: storemags.com via OlgaMaria and models.com (credits)
Calvin Klein Forbidden Euphoria Fragrance F/W 11
Steven Meisel - Photographer
Barbara Palvin - Model
Carlyne Cerf De Dudzeele - Fashion Editor/Stylist
Fabien Baron - Creative Director
Guido Palau - Hair Stylist
Pat McGrath - Makeup Artist
When in doubt, wear red.
It's another great season for Steven. Even though I'm not blown away by his campaigns as it was the case 3 or 5 years ago, I love the Balenciaga campaign. There's something really mysterious and chic about it. I also love the Lanvin campaign, so addictive. Less excited by the Euphoria ad but I think it's more a question model choice and not photography.
"Quality will be remembered long after price has been forgotten" .Aldo Gucci.
Last edited by Wolkfolk; 04-08-2011 at 07:52 PM.
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