The Dark Side Of Fantasy / Fantasizing The Dark.
Or, in the words of fashion editor Panos Yipanis — who styled Steven Klein‘s provocative editorial for issue 30 of Arena Homme Plus — the title “Games & Restrictions, Candy, Twilight & Guns” was chosen.
Which — considering the theme for this 15 year anniversary commemorative was “Hard Times!” — begs the question : “Double entendre much?”
★ ☆ ★
At any rate, I’m by no means the first to have admired the cinematic quality of Mr. Klein’s photography, but when one click led to another to another, to the video embedded above . .
I’ve gotta tell ya: the lyrical quality, the beauty and brutality expressed therein? Inspired some awe, yes.
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Just so we’re clear : the impetus for this post isn’t to alert you, gentle reader, as to what’s New! Hot! Now! Besides, not only did the story run in the fall 08/winter 09 release of the bi-annual; the sense of time is immersive.
I feel compelled to remark upon what I find equally as impressive/astounding as the work itself. For all the homoerotic overtones, for this chic cult of sexual predators Klein has amassed — for a narrative in which outré images are bound so tightly : it’s as if they’re laced with gunpowder and black magic . . .
The context of where the photographs were published — the framework from which Klein’s story was “hung,” so to speak — bears great cultural significance.
For those unaware — or for those who are, even — humor me one hot little moment while I reiterate a fact so basic ; I’ve yet to come across a journalist or blogger to bring attention to it.
Arena Homme Plus is not a gay [ that's "gay" in scare quotes ] publication. On the contrary, it’s an internationally-distributed, mainstream men’s luxury magazine that’s neither underground nor back-alley whatsoever in terms of niche or scope.
Case / Point : last week, Santa Monica boardwalk, Barnes & Noble, window display.
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As with the hemoglobin-laden editorial in February ’09s French Vogue, in which Klein cast supermodel Lara Stone as the antithesis of All That Is Twilight — i.e., sexually-charged, ultra-violent, and void of humanity’s trappings: namely, a moral compass — an aberrant mileu is presented outside of its predicated parameters.
For me, as an observer, the feeling his work conveys is not so much that he “crosses a line” as it is he doesn’t care to acknowledge it.
★ ☆ ★
There’s a rebellious nonchalance, of sorts, that’s as sexy as the ambiguous sexuality of his subjects, as the demarcation between fine art and the notion of ‘fashion photography’ disappears, along with the boundaries between the commercial and the transgressive.
View the archived editorial in its entirety at Homotography.
★ ☆ ★
[ men bound to the cult of beauty no more masochistically than the viewer to them ]