AO on Site – Art Basel Miami 2008: The Lowdown On Naomi Campbell’s In Fashion Photo Exhibition by Art Photo Expo

December 3rd, 2008

In Fashion Photo Exhibit; Miami; December 2nd; 2008

The debut of the Naomi Campbell Retrospective, which boasted colorful fashion photography, tanned celebrities, red carpet, juicy fruity drinks, and a ribbon-cutting session, was a mix of highs and lows last night. Majority of the photographic selections were solid representations of top fashion photographers; the lush Yves Saint Laurent Ad Campaigns of Naomi by Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin were displayed along with other iconic photographs of the long-limbed diva against maze-like green hedges.  In addition, Michael Dweck’ ethereal mermaids, romantic fashion photos by Alika Malka and delicious pop arty shots by Arthur Elgort stood out in the labyrinth of retro and modern fashion photos. Other photographers represented included Gilles Bensimon, Patrick Demarchelier, Arthur Elgort, Simon Harris, Seb Janiak, David LaChapelle, Mario Testino, and Ellen Von Unwerth. However, while the selections were cheerful, bold, and uplifting, (truly, what would fashion photography be today without LaChapelle’s influence?), none was jaw-droppingly sensational or controversial. Perhaps because we are so inundated with these photographers’ sensibilities via mega-watt advertisements and 800-page luxury magazine spreads, when we attempt to differentiate between art vs commerce, their works seem to lean more on the commercial side.

Photos and Writing by Faith-Ann Young

more story and pictures after the jump…

Alix Malika; Meduses Jean Paul Gaultier; 2008

In addition, considering it was an event for an industry focused on aesthetics, the exhibit was surprisingly awkwardly laid out, underneath a concrete highway overpass. As such, in the chilly night, the guests huddled decidedly unglamorous, next to vast concrete pillars. Without a heater in sight, people formed a mass human heat lamp together in the bar area. In addition, the bar fast ran out of the featured (Black Cherry) flavored elixirs before the ribbon-cutting, (though the straight-vodka combo served its purpose of warming our goose-bumped selves). What’s more? Waitresses walked around offering plates of fried bread bits as appetizers. Yes. Fried Bread. (One waif thin VIP whispered: “Is fried bread a ‘recession special’ or what?”)  In other words, rather than daydream about the artistic interpretations of models and muses, we bizarrely found ourselves cold, sober, and whispering about the fiscal success of Miami Basel this year….

A quick solution? We ditched the fashionista fete and headed for the literati-paparazzi spectacle, sponsored by the NY Times in the Raleigh Hotel’s Penthouse, for limitless cocktails and elbow-rubbing with a smiling Takashi Murakami in stuffed colorful ball-suit, T Mag’s Online Director Horatio Silva in a dapper suit, and a casual, calm Pharrell Williams. Thank you NY Times. (We held cocktails not cameras, sorry folks!)

Slim Aarons; Catherine Wilke; 1980

Slim Aarons; Mara Lane At The Sands; 1954

View from the halls

Bread anyone?