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Thursday, 24. October 2002
Von Unwerth Sonderbehandlung

Noemie Lenoir in Amaan #4

Amaan is a French fashion quarterly heavily inspired from Another Magazine. We're talking about the last issue, that appeared two months ago. I apologize for the delay, but Amaan costs 20 euros, so I buy it at second-hand magazines stores here.

The editor-publisher is Paul Stieglitz, the fashion photographer, so it features a lot of classic, studio portraits. The star of the issue is Fernanda Tavarese, who is also on the cover.

The ideology behind the magazine, and certainly behind this particular issue, is to give more exposure to black models. I can only applaud to that. And I don't object black nudity at all. ( in fact I'm fascinated by a new nude ad of Naomi Campbell for a British jeweler, we'll talk about that tomorrow).

But even an enthusiast black nudity lover like this humble webloger is disturbed in front of the first portfolio in Amaan #4. In a dozen photographs by Ellen Von Unwerth, model Noemie Lenoir is pictured in various poses meant to illustrate the subject, "wild and savage", but which are conveying a strong message of racism.

Because of the giant format of the mag, I couldn't scan it properly, but you can still get the idea (different scan here). At best, Noemie is pictured as a beast in a circus, like in this pic. At worst (and I didn't scan the worst), she portrays slavery and racial humilation as a legitimate (and sexy) entertainment. The implication is black females are not really human.

I would like to know why almost all French attempts (apart the original Yves Saint Laurent shows) to encourage black models always end up this way.

And I also would like to know why it's always a German photographer who take the liberty to have fun at racial subjects.

 
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