Friday, August 19, 2011

Roitfeld & Lagerfeld Discuss the Boundary Between 'Art Form' & 'Pornography'

Lagerfeld interviews Carine Roitfeld for Interview Magazine.

The below conversation about pornography is very interesting:
Img-carine-roitfeld-001_11184068388LAGERFELD: When do you think a photograph become erotic? And when does it cross that boundary into the x-rated or pornography?
ROITFELD: It's very difficult to know when you're crossing the boundary. I hate the word boundary because I never think about it when taking a picture. Very often it doesn't mean anything because it depends on who's looking at the picture more than the content of the picture itself.
LAGERFELD: Yes. But even it's simpler than that. Take Helmut Newton. Some of his photos were shocking. But there's always a beauty in the composition. There's always an artistic interest in terms of the image.
ROITFELD: I am against absolute gratuity.
LAGERFELD: That's what I wanted to hear you say.
LAGERFELD: Oh yes. But I worked with Helmut a lot too. I was even Helmut's stylist with Caroline of Monaco. I know his work process. The rest of us were making such a fuss, trying so hard, and he'd just come in and do it. What was his secret? Even the most explicit photos were an art form.
ROITFELD: There are so many people who try to emulate him now, or draw inspiration from his work.
LAGERFELD: There are two things that are being imitated everywhere: Chanel and Newton's photos. There are photographers that I will not name who are really shameless.
ROITFELD: Yes, but I find that some do it well. The interesting thing with him is that he didn't copy anyone. It was instinctive.
LAGERFELD: It didn't exist before
ROITFELD: It lasted just for a minute and that's what's brilliant. Imitation always stinks. When I take photos, I don't go back. I don't look at the past. I'm always original. In photo shoots, I rely on instinct. Which is not to say I don't bring ideas to a project or consider it beforehand.
LAGERFELD: I don't know anyone in this job who is as prepared as you are.
ROITFELD: At the same time I do go very fast. I think if I don't go fast it's going to be boring. That's what photographers need to do. I hate people who over intellectualize. It bores me deeply.
LAGERFELD: You have a gift for bringing talent out in others. The same photographers seem more talented when they're working with you than with other editors or stylists. What do you attribute that to? Maybe it's an impossible question.
ROITFELD: It's like when you're making love to a woman. A man will say, okay, I have more fun with her than with others. [laughs] But, really, I am anti-boredom.
LAGERFELD: Is it a conscious or unconscious choice?
Roitfeld: It's completely unconscious. Otherwise I wouldn't be where I am today. I wouldn't have done the photos I've done. And I won't be blamed as being porno chic.
LAGERFELD: Oh, no, no, no.
ROITFELD: It's a very bad word. I like erotic chic.
LAGERFELD: That's its own art movement. Today there are galleries that sell photos under the name of erotic art that are very explicit.
ROITFELD: Yes, but porno is not a pretty word. Porno chic doesn't mean much. It's been sticking to me and I don't understand why.
Rest of the interview here.

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