Friday, October 7, 2011

Thoughts on Fashion Photography and Real Life (A Reaction to Yolanda Dominguez's "Poses")

woman lying of dirt yolanda dominguez poses

haute couture pose on flowers by model
Images found here.

Yolanda Dominguez is a visual artist and performer from Madrid.  I ran across her work, Poses, from an interview of Yolanda Dominguez by a blogger here, and I thought it was one of the most interesting performance art pieces I have seen in a while.

Now, like I have already detailed in a blog post before, I am not a big fan of performance art, or at least the type which feels hokey or fake, or which intellectualize a concept too much, but upon execution showcases too little talent (*cough stupid abortion project cough*). However, I feel that Dominguez's work in Poses is an inspired exception to the rule, since it effectively managed to both shock and entertain people, while forcing them to think.

Basically, Poses is a series of performance art pieces set in several places in Madrid, where "ordinary" folk strike haute couture poses in the middle of an otherwise perfectly ordinary scene.  Some people consider it a depiction of the "indestructible superciliousness that is haute pose".  Initially, I just thought it was intelligent and hilarious.

I suggest you watch this video so you have a better idea of what I'm talking about.

My two cents:  Fashion photography has its place in the art world, notwithstanding the fact that a lot of "serious" artists tend to place it on a lower level of importance compared to other art forms.  This, however, is fashion photography's point: people shouldn't take it seriously.  It's made-up and imaginary.

Except people do take it seriously. Empirical evidence shows us that a lot of people (especially teenage girls) actually use these depictions, among others, to create a standard of beauty for women that, as has been shown time and time again, is neither realistic nor healthy. What Poses does, and does so effectively and brilliantly by pushing the idea to its extreme, is to show us how absurd this notion or perspective is. Fashion photography is essentially rooted in fantasy, and rarely has any point in real life situations. This art project shows us that it would be best to remember that.    

From Yolanda Domiguez's website:

“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.

These images are virtually the only feminine reference in the mass media and they have a great influence in both men and women when building our roles in terms of behavior and ways of thinking. 

Read more here.


  1. Art is people processing what they see like poop is people processing what they eat.

  2. Interesting and thought provoking post. I love art, but I do feel that, in some cases, it has become more about business and hype than an expression of creativity.

  3. Hmmm. The visual world does so much to impact upon what we think that it's almost impossible to know the full extent of it. Poses sounds like a neat experiment into the psychology of fashion.

  4. How unusual! I love the reaction of passersby!

  5. For me, performance art is more performance commentary, rather than "art." Potato-potahto, I guess. The YouTube clip was fascinating. Something that touched me, though, was the men who went over to "help" the prone young woman up. That touched me.

    America's next Top Model is a show that makes me furious. What goes as a "plus sized" model, usually the girl with the idea that she is LARGE, is usually a girl who is, perhaps, a size 7.

    The poses, the superficiality, the callousness--so much of the fashion industry breaks the heart of a mother of daughters. I'm rambling, so I'll stop. Important to think of these things and examine where our OWN attitudes feed what is so unhealthy. thank you.

  6. I love photography. This type specifically.

    I have gotten part time and I work with concept and connection with my model and my so-called concept. This made me think about my works. Chos!

    Then, I realize fashion can be what you wear everyday and what you wear on special occasion. Haute couture poses are rather of the second type.

    If a model conveys ordinary things, it should not be in a magazine at all. (I mean the glamour chorva. Chos!)

    It is really funny. The post and the video. However, it kept me thinking anyway. Chos! XOXO

  7. I breath fashion. And I believe it's funny sometimes. Hahaha.

  8. It's funny, but I'm always a little confused about the function of models. One school of thought holds that they should be well-built but not striking - a wire framework on which beautiful clothes are hung to show off their colour, cut or style. On the other hand, these women are idolised as paragons of a beauty that is narrow and unattainable. Not that models aren't beautiful creatures, but so is everyone. Fashion is a strange business indeed.

  9. Wow, rad post and cool blog:) Thanks for checking mine out as well!

  10. interesting post.. i luurve the video.. funny.. really funny.. ahahaha! :P

  11. I really like and appreciate your post.



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