September 2009 Archives

Fruitvale .............

|

(Drawing)

 

GroundCovers-IMG_2484Abwsq.jpg

Copyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder

 

 

 

Supermodeling

|

On August 3rd the New York Times wrote, Naomi Sims, 61, Pioneering Cover Girl, Is Dead . Per the Times, "Ms. Sims is sometimes referred to as the first black supermodel."

On August 29, the most recent of conventional black supermodels was reported speaking out via the UK paper Telegraph: Naomi Campbell attacks companies for 'dropping' black models in recession .

naomi-sims-supermodel-240bsc080409.jpg
At stake is not just the notion of racism in fashion. Instead, industrial manufacturing of standards of beauty has shifted in the global marketplace, from haute to pop. Arguably, someone not named Naomi -- Beyonce Knowles -- is the reigning black supermodel, with Halle Berry and a few other notables from the entertainment world being stalked and emulated if not revered. The relationship between fashion and beauty is now fundamentally different from before, where fashion is not the defacto social arbiter of beauty nor vice-versa.

More precisely, while conventional notions of beauty are still used as a vehicle for fashion, fashion's relentless experimentation finally proposes that its notion of beauty is essentially artistic, pertaining to style; while media celebrity has taken over the role of presenting gender beauty from an essentially social stance.

Style and gender are not opponents but now are simply two different independent dimensions that can intersect. This presents the opportunity that the more important meaning of the prefix "super" will in the future come from the level of impact that is seen on one dimension by the other, as some concept from one of them proves to be more influential when they are superimposed.

Models of style and models of gender will continue to percolate and change in different ways, offering differing dialogues between art and society about beauty. Whether these two will independently seek validations from archetypes, power from stereotypes, or persistence from icons will also shape the conversations and to some extent predetermine the nature of any discoveries or disagreements in the dialogue.

These current terms of discussion may make the older problem of cresting or ebbing ethnic representation in haute fashion an obsolete concern. But it is no more likely to become "obsolete" than is the problem of older women not being offered on-screen work in Hollywood. They are both fundamentally problems not of beauty or talent -- but of selling.

Photo: Yale Joel, Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

 

 

The Garden ...

|

(Tile)

 

Signposts-IMG00496-20090927-1234Asqbw.jpgCopyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder

The Garden ..

|

(Drawing)

 

SignPosts-IMG00490-20090927-1230Abw.jpgCopyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder

The Garden .

|

(Postcard)

  

Signposts-IMG00491-20090927-1231B.jpg

Copyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder

Dimond ............

|

(Drawing)

 

RingSwing-IMG_2500ABCbw.jpg
In the joint

Dimond / Oakland

Copyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder

Caution: Objects in Mirror are...

|

pogoplaque.jpg

People will sometimes want images to be mirrors instead of news, and sometimes vice-versa. But as the text of one of the articles linked below says, "It's ... no secret that [enhanced] images can warp how normal people see themselves, especially teenagers who are particularly prone to developing body issues." 

Protection against such an outcome is clearly important. By golly, this enhancement stuff needs to be reined in! Wherefore, France floats law requiring Photoshopped images carry a warning...

Does the phrase "road to hell" come to mind here?

Like modeling itself, and the pictorial enhancements around it, this legal gesture is certainly in reality not much more than posing to make a point. But, as is true about the pictures of concern, the scary part about the proposed law is not so much in what it states per se, as in the likelihood that people will not recognize it as an artifice and get really wound up over taking it seriously, wreaking more waste, if not havoc, than if they'd done nothing...

Just as with the pictures that the law bemoans, there will be at least two ways for people to react to the law while it's still just a proposal -- taking it as a suggestion that represents a position, versus as a decision that they do or don't like.

In this case, some people -- especially marketers and intellectuals -- will ridicule the law because it seems stupid to assume that most people don't know that commercial photographs are fictions. Other people, smelling a classic censorship fight, will bring an enormous amount of hand-wringing over how to implement such a law versus free speech.

But let's ask more about which people are "most people". Interestingly, the whole thing goes drilling into how hard it is to educate young people into healthy self-awareness, when information technology (obviously including mass media and publishing) is pervasive. What matters is to get that education done before people are old enough to do things to hurt themselves. Nothing beats critical thinking skills when it comes to being a consumer.

So -- how simple would it be, to teach children about how commercial images are made! 

Meanwhile, Content Warning Labels will always inhabit the twilight zone between guiding consumers and controlling producers. The real bottom line to them, though, is that they make a difference only if the consumers have a choice.

What really puts all this in perspective? Of the dozens of different ways that images become influential having nothing to do with Photoshop, most of them have to do with context -- with where things are seen and where the see-er is at the time, both literally and emotionally. 

When it comes to "image", I'm thinking the French legal proposal indicates that no one in French government has actually ever seen the way tv covers women's gymnastics and figureskating in the Olympics...that the release of "Mean Girls" didn't resonate in Europe, and that they've never seen MySpace... 

HowToEmo.jpg

And who really has the advantage in  the influence battle? Here's an unretouched excerpt from the Scene Kids website: 

"How to emo requires most of the time out of fashion large dark framed glasses.. The legs should be covered with weighted slacks that are obviously too small and above the shoe at the bottom. Super small tee shirts are recommended when learning how to emo. It is best to buy your tee-shirts in the kid’s section. Tee-shirts that have colorful patterns are great for the emo look. If you are wearing a shirt, you must button it to the top to appear more vulnerable and afraid of your surroundings. Also, buy shoes that are dark in color and look as if they are too large for your emo feet."

If you're really determined to be worried, the self-image User's Manual is so ubiquitous now that the real challenge is managing access to the information you're concerned about, not post-facto packaging. What the proposed law would do, naturally, is to turn a big chunk of what is now a public arena -- the open market -- into a special case of "public": a black market.

It's all so deep, the comedic prospect of enforcing this law.

Or not.

From the genius Vizzini, a.k.a. Wallace Shawn in the Princess Bride:

"Haha.. you fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is: Never get involved in a land war in Asia."

 

Photo credits: according to the website igopogo.com, the Pogo picture  above is of a brass plate on a wooden plaque that OGPI had produced for the Waycross, Georgia Pogofest in 1998.

Fruitvale ..............

|

(Tile)

 

Gateway-IMG_2493Asq.jpg
Copyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder

Dimond .........

|

(Postcard)

Snoop dogs.

 
BouSnoopDog-IMG_2203A.jpg
Copyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder

Teaming

|

 

Xia-BIG-Level4s-IMG_2511A2.jpg
The merging of identities into technique is so that eventually the identities can technically emerge.

Copyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder

We'll Do It For You

|

(Postcard)

  

Assumptions-IMG00479Cbw.jpg

Copyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder

Met on the streets: entire citywide workforce now responsible for maintenance of parks and street signs. Parks: 3. Signs: 10. Lifespan of a clean new sign: longest planned, 3 years; shortest unplanned, 40 minutes.

Low Rollers .....

|

(Postcarrd)

 

LowRoller-IMG_2471A.jpgCopyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder

Fruitvale ...................

|

(Drawing)

 

Fruitvale-DoorIMG_2482A.jpgCopyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder

Fruitvale

|

(Tile)

 

FruitvaleCactus-IMG_2480a.jpgCopyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder

Fruitvale ..............

|

(Poster)

Ways to come home.

StepUp-IMG_2410A3.jpg

The Sub-Leter's Comfort

When the sense of belonging is missing from the view, "class" often distorts the perception of architecture's elegance. Regardless of viewer, the "front" door is always psychically the door that means "home". Even the slightest architecture's distillery comforts the approach to that door, helping the tenant to map or even "re-map" the building to the living meaning it needs.

Copyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder

Alertness

|

 (Drawing)

 

Alertness-Bou-IMG_1496Abw.jpg
Copyright 2009 Malcolm and Xia Ryder

Fruitvale ................

|

(Drawing)

 

SequoiaGardens-IMG_2378a.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

SequoiaGarden-IMG_2453A.jpg

Sequoia Gardens at rest.

Copyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder

Fruitvale ..............

|

(Drawing)

 

CoolidgeCorner-IMG_2445A.jpgCopyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder

Telegraph

|

(Drawing)

 

SteelesCorner-IMG_2416A.jpg

 

 

(Postcard)

 

SteelesDiver-IMG_2433A.jpg
Copyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder

A Pick Me Up

|

(Postcard)

 

FloatingMilk-HPIM0655.JPG

Copyright 2009 Campbell, Xia and Malcolm Ryder

 

 

 

 

 

Low Rollers ....

|

(Postcard)

 

PedalMetal-IMG_2409A.jpgCopyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder