Harpers Bazaar – “Wild Thing” Editorial

ImageShot by French photographer Jean Paul Goude, this editorial piece centres famous model Naomi Campbell for Harpers Bazaar racing against an array of wild animals. One of the world’s most known fashion magazines, Harper’s Bazaar, this editorial has been recognised as one of their most inspired yet. Looking “amazing” the model is used to duplicate the actions and appearance of the animals being seen within. For example it is clear to see how she is running alongside a cheetah in a similar print of clothing as the fur of the animal. I like how the human is representing the animal in a turn of events as the animal is usually second to the human. Obviously this shoot would be a prime example of how animals are cruelly used by humans for the entertainment of others however, I believe that this shoot can clearly show the animal and human as equal. I really like this shoot as it illustrates the animal in it’s own habitat. The strength and  power created through this set of editorial work is a way for animals and humans to be empowered. Communicating with an older more female based audience due to the purpose of the shoot being created, for a fashion magazine, it is clear to see how this set of images would appeal to the audience as it expresses deep beauty of model, animal and landscape. Clearly not created for a younger audience, this editorial has gained a mixed response from audiences as it has been named as being “Tired, played out and not progressive”. I understand where this response has evolved from, this style of shoot has been done before however it has not been Imagecreated to show how Africa has “progressed” it has been created in order to communicate the strength of the model and to appeal clothing to them. Looking at the pictures from this shoot I only find the cheetah photograph appealing. I find the crocodile image very unappealing and fail to understand why this has been used. The cheetah image shows the model and animal as equals and expresses great comparisons between the two, and overall presents a scene that the audience would like to see. However, other images from this set simply fail to appeal to me. Criticized for not including more “creative concepts”, I agree with the realisation that this editorial is simply becoming a little boring the more you see it being done. Despite expressing “power and domination” and showing the strength of women, it is a very typical way for the magazine and designers to express this, for instance if you wish to express speed, use a cheetah, it’s the fastest animal and that is exactly what this editorial does, use the most common forms of power and strength. 

In regards to the actual photographs being used I find the images well captured. The scenes suit the mood and emotion that is being created. For instance aiming to express the empowerment and dominance of women through the crocodile photograph the scene around the central model and animal is extremely darkened allowing most of the light to highlight the model in the centre. I really like how the lighting and shading has been used in order to express the mood. Researching reviews of this shoot many comments include describing the shoot as being “insulting” and criticise the choice of model as many agree it would have been more relevant to use an African model with an interesting background story of the country to promote a more inspiring concept. I believe that creating a more relevant concept the the place being pictured would have been a more successful choice however I disagree with he comment of this piece being “insulting”.

Overall I like how the model and animal are equal within the Cheetah image however as a whole fail to understand the reasoning behind why the shoot has been created as it does not advertise a set of clothes or have a connection to the model being used. I do love the style of images and the elements that have been captured however it is obvious that this piece has communicated a mixed message with the intended audience and caused a great deal of confusion and controversy. 


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