Satirizing Fashion Photography

In her performance piece “Poses,” Spanish artist Yolanda Dominguez satirizes fashion photography, instructing participants to contort their bodies in the poses and movements usually found in fashion editorials in public places. (Originally found here.)

“Poses” is a direct criticism of the absurd and artificial world of glamour and of fashion that magazines present. Specifically, the highly-distorted image of women that they transmit through models that do not represent real women and that avoid all those who are not within their restricted parameters.

While we need not necessarily denounce fashion editorials for their artifice (we should not discount the power of fantastical or absurd imagery to press against the assumed boundaries of the human body or social decorum, for instance), Dominguez’s project does allow us another way into the readings — how do certain poses and movements become part of a sign system for “fashion”? How are bodies themselves, rather than “just” being biological entities, made into signs? (Jennifer Craik writes, “bodies are ‘made up’ in both senses of the term – constructed through the acquisition of body techniques, and known through the ways in which they are made presentable in habituses or living environments.”)  What other speculations or questions does this piece inspire in relation to the readings?


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