Thursday, September 12, 2013

Carmen Carrera. Showgirl.

I have loved the work of Steven Meisel ever since I realized I loved fashion photography. Back in the 90s, he used to shoot for US magazine – this was before it became the tabloid it is today. Back then, US could be counted on for legit interviews and the cover story was often shot beautifully by Meisel. Really, they even published a whole book about it. I remember feeling like he had a way with his subjects that made them more comfortable than they seemed to be in other sessions. His pictures were just more revealing. You felt as if you were actually getting to know the person in the picture, even though you were aware they were telling a story.

You’ve probably seen a lot of his work. Especially with Madonna. This early pic of her is famous, and the most interesting part of it is not how scandalous this was back in the 80s, but the look in her eye.

But the pic that first made me want to remember his name was from another Madonna session many people haven’t even seen. Again, it’s the look in her eyes. You instantly feel insanely close, even though you know they’re just telling a story.

The pic itself is a tip of the hat to Marilyn Monroe’s final photo session. This pic of Madonna manages to capture the Marilyn session, the sadness we feel about that, and also feel completely new and exciting.

So when I heard that Meisel was working with Carmen Carrera – the former Rupaul’s Drag Race contestant-turned-trans Burlesque performer, I knew I had to look out for it. Luckily, Meisel and Carrera would be shooting for W magazine, which is known for having the best photography in the fashion magazine world. Unless you said Vogue, then no could argue with that. But no one could say Vogue’s photography is better, either. But I digress. On Drag Race, Carrera was astonishingly beautiful – traffic stopping, walking into walls beautiful. She wasn’t the best contestant, but her look was always on point. The house down.

Before y'all call me crazy, I'm not comparing Carrera with Madonna. Come on. It just happens that my favorite Meisel pics happen to be of Madonna. Got it? Anyway... Meisel perfectly captures Carrera’s beauty, and puts her in the setting she deserves. In the pic above, what Carerra is wearing is the main attraction - all fuzzy and futuristic. But when you zero in on the look on her face, you notice how hopeful she looks. Where is her purse? I guess if all you needed was a cell phone and a cup of coffee then you'd be all carefree too. especially when you know that your coat will be in fashion when we finally start going to Mars. But what kills this pic is the fact that you get a sense of her personality, and all she's doing is walking with a coffee.

Anyway, Meisel and Carrera clearly had a blast shooting their spread for W, and we even get a [very] short film from the shoot! It's gorgeous bubbly fantasy romp or burlesque. You know me.

Enjoy yourself.

All photos © Steven Meisel. This is just a celebration of his work!

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