Is Vogue Italia's oil spill shoot artistic or tasteless?

11 August 2010

A jet black ocean, birds covered in oil, the bodies of women washed up on the beach as an oil slick creeps closer in the background – images like these have been far too frequently seen since the BP oil rig explosion.

However this isn’t a hard news story – but a fashion shoot in Italian Vogue.

Shot by Steven Meisel, model Kristen McMenamy lays in a rock pool, an oil-drenched fishing net trailing from her dress. In another shot, she coughs up water as if she’s drowning. The shoot, titled ‘Water and Oil’, has divided opinion: some think it’s artistic, others a blatant publicity stunt and a snub for those men who lost their lives.

‘The message is to be careful about nature,’ said Editor-in-Chief Franca Sozzani, ‘Just to take care more about nature. I understand that it could be shocking to see and to look in this way these images.’

Sozzani said the shoot reflects the magazine's effort to ‘find an idea that comes from real life. ... There is nothing political. There is nothing social. It's only visually. We gave a message but in a visual way.’

Do you think it’s too soon to be using the BP disaster as inspiration? Or is there nothing wrong with art reflecting life?


By Amy Molloy



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