Sunday, September 23, 2007

Love sells. Rape sells better.

All right folks, new design is nice but we are in the business of publishing here so check on this "Photo story" titled Make Love Not War I picked-up today thanks to Cooper from Photographed by Steven Meisel and published by Vogue Italy on this fashion catalog 'tells the story' of US soldiers in Iraq as they reveal the joy of play with a bunch of skeleton like wild looking young women.

Cooper thought it should have been described more like a "photo fantasy" targeted at ignorant men and suggested it has a "rape me" subtext. I tend to agree with Cooper on the subject as the "rape me" style seem to be gaining popularity recently. yes. I think it's there all right, at least in some of the images, and the fact it does not contain Iraqi looking women doesn't change much because that's how it works. because they don't have too. and mainly because western like women would fuel both male and female consumers much better.

I think the interesting thing about this campaign is that it does far more than just carrying another version of the "rape me" message. It is innovative in the sense of what it dares to do. Amazingly I should say, it seem to be notionally flirting with recently published information Iraq and the involvement of (some...) US soldiers in rape of Iraqi women. Hollywood is already aware of the trend and knows how well such a story is able to sell.

Famed film director Brian De Palma (Scarface, The Untouchables) was quoted just a week ago saying when he read about the Mahmudiyah incident in Iraq 2006 (that would be five US soldiers raped a local girl, killed her and her family) he knew he has "a story." Now don't get me wrong: I LOVE De Palma, it's just that I am almost positive the guys from Vogue had more or less the same idea in their mind. Love sells well, but rape sells better.

Looking at those images a few times, I can almost hear how it went: The creative team was perfectly aware of the recent stories. The subject was brought up and discussed. The advantages and disadvantages were discussed, I presume someone must have got up and said something like, “yeh, sure it might turn against us as some pretty ladies will claim this and that, but think about all the people who would talk about it...”.

True, the “any publicity is good publicity” equation might be changing nowadays as the new rules set by the “age of conversation” permeate deeper. Still, things are changing slowly and this campaign will probably achieve its mission, and some of it would be thanks to Cooper and myself. But I still think I should write this and you should read this. This is still the kind of world we live in.

See it all here judge yourself: Make Love Not War


  1. Like you said, good design is something to be appreciated. It's well done, it's provocative. Beautiful photos. It's also disturbing as hell. I'm an American. I'm a marketing manager. I'm against the war. I'm a photographer. All those things, those parts of me, find this a bit disturbing. I'm also a proponent of free speech...

  2. Thank you for visiting me Jessica and for your comment. I like they way you said it too: well done. provocative. beautiful. disturbing as hell. free speech. I rather live in a world where this is allowed than in one where its forbidden.

  3. Actually the rape subtext was from women online and I tended to disagree with it in except in that it rapes both women and soldiers of a dignity they deserve.

    I think you have a very good point in the capitalizing on the trend to on current affairs especially current affairs which have varied view points and tend to atagonize. I find it exploitive as usual of a gender and a situation.

    The world in general is becoming ore exploitive every day from art to media. My feeling about what is beautiful in terms of art and photography comes from intent. Intent in this case was not so much about the art as it was about finances. It worked but does not provoke an ounce of appreciation from this camp.

  4. BTW, I love the new look.

  5. What I worry most about these types of things is that the bar keeps dropping. Eventually, the average TV channel will be airing pornography. 50 years ago it was illegal to televise two people in the same bed together in any context.

    I know that free speech should be recognized and honored, but I encourage you to do some research on sex addicts, sex abusers, and rapists. There is a definite connection between these types of people and the sexualized media that they have been exposed to. The more the bar drops, the less likely people will have any desire to control their sex drives.


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