Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Let's Get Lost" by Mikael Jansson

"Let's Get Lost" by Mikael Jansson
Interview, May 2010

"Let's get lost. The hour is late, the air is thick, and the evening is charged with a steamy sensuality. What works? Tone-on-tone swimsuits, slithers of silk, and plenty of skin, as flesh meets flesh, body meets soul, and Daria gets lost in the heat of the night." - editorial tagline

Perhaps the most racially controversial editorial, Interview didn't even credit the black models. Instead they only list Daria Werbowy. Representation is very important in the media, but what's even more important is what the representation says. What do you think of the editorial? What do you think it says? Who is the audience? What is the intended response? Do you think it works?

Here are the full credits:
Mikael Jansson - Photographer
Daria Werbowy - Model
Armando Cabral - Model
Salieu Jalloh - Model
Oraine Barrett - Model
Pablo Contreras - Model
Dorian Cobb - Model
David Agbodji - Model
Manuel Ramos - Model
Kelly Moreira - Model
Sedene Blake - Model
Ajak Deng - Model
Lisalla Montenegro - Model
Karl Templer - Fashion Editor/Stylist
Eugene Souleiman - Hair Stylist
Mark Carrasquillo - Makeup Artist
Michelle Lee for KCD - Casting Director
Randall Peacock - Set Designer



  1. This ed is deliberately controversial. But I wonder if the sadness in some of the female models eyes was deliberate? That may perhaps be the truest glimpse.

    Also, I wonder if Oraine Barrett ever gets tired of being cast as the big black bad guy? (You might recognize him from Rihanna's Man Down video)

  2. Kelly Rowland's Motivation video condensed into an ad. Seriously.

  3. Also what's so controversial? Gang rape? Or is it the fact that there are more black people in this ad? Would it be less controversial if it was all white people? Or all Black?

  4. No, this is so not a gang rape editorial.

    And yes, it would be completely non-controversial (just in bad taste) if the models were all white, and controversial if the models were all black, but with "the star" being a white woman in a sexualized crowd of ANONYMOUS black people makes it revoltingly controversial.

    We don't need editorials to reinforce European fears of black male hypersexuality. The fact that your mind interpreted as a gang rape even though Daria's clearly complicit is based in an innate fear of black men as well-endowed rapists that will steal away the master's daughter. That fear is titillating, and dehumanizing, and that's why there's so much of it in Mandingo and gang bang porn. Google Amiri Baraka, for the fun of it, and see how powerful that motif is.

    I'm all for representations of interracial relationships, homosexuality, transgendered, etc. But this feeds and perpetuates fetishistic views of both black male/white female relationships, and lesbian relationships.

  5. And as for Kelly's video, cosmetic similarities. Lil Wayne and Kelly Rowland putting out a hypersexualized music video is about as shocking as Taylor Swift crying in a pick up truck.

    Here's the difference. This ad is by a European (male) photographer for a European magazine. The people with the bargaining power (financing the shoot) and purchasing power (the readers) are white. I'm assuming the black models were paid, but to not be credited?!?

    Creating fetishistic editorials to grab attention and appeal to European's baser stereotypes is something that I'd rather see left to pornographers, not fashion photographers. If Kelly Rowlands, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Beyonce want to portray themselves in that way to their audience, that's their decision as multi-millionaire celebrities. Nobodies asking Lil Wayne to be a fricking role model, he's doing what he wants. Is that something I think kids should be growing up watching? Obviously not, but if your kid is watching music videos, this probably wouldn't be the first orgy scene they've seen. Parenting fail.

  6. Any time you use different races in an ad, a video, a movie, there's a message. This is not a post-racial society, even if white people like to think it is. When you add sexuality, that sends another message.

    Obviously there are people who see themselves in this representation. Just look up Mandingo nights at sex clubs, or go to a Jungle Fever party (since you're too young to go to a sex club). But in a media where there are SO FEW representations of black people, to devote so much celluloid to this is offensive. I'd like to punch Mikaels rapey camera and tell him to give Ajak equal billing and funding.

  7. Well The first thing I thought of when I saw this add was shiny legs. I didn't think gang bang/rape. I tried to find what was offensive in the photography but I couldn't. I wasn't offended by this ad because I didn't know anything about black relationships or lesbian relationships. I can see how it is offensive with how the credit was handled but not in the actual photography. The fact that if it was all black makes it controversial, but not if it was all white makes me mad. Why is using black people in a super sexualized ad more controversial? Because of the hype around the sexualized black image? Because ages ago lies went around that black men just wanted to rape white women? If that's the case then an all white ad just like this should be just as offensive, because white people have an extremely sexualized past too. Just different.

    And yes it is dehumanizing for the ethnicities to be represented this way. But it should be just as dehumanizing for white models to appear in an ad like this. We are a race too. And we aren't shown in the best light in other countries. Once again it's due to the designers and the target crowd.

  8. And about Kelly Rowland, I was comparing the overtones that MAJOR BLACK influences today bring to our culture. You say this is dehumanizing while they embrace it. It gets super confusing for most people about what is right and what is wrong.

    I would have actually added this ad to favorites if it wasn't for the "themes" that you find so offensive. I don't find it offensive racially. Just sexually.

    I don't see ad campaigns as an accurate representation of our society. They are the product of the designers/photographers dream. Often these men are creepy perverts who look at everything as a sex object. To say that this shows what our culture is isn't fair. Rather it's just the same as saying that this ad shows what black relationships are like. Not fair. Racism goes both ways and both ways is intolerable.


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