According to a Jan. 17 report in The Guardian, “It's not the first time a natural disaster has been used as inspiration for a fashion-magazine spread,” but, Vogue Magazine’s “Storm Tropers” photo shoot has sparked outrage among many commentators.
Shot by famed photographer, Anne Leibovitz, the photos appear in the fashion magazine’s February issue and feature models including Chanel Iman, Joan Smalls and Karlie Kloss alongside members of the National Guards’ 69th Infantry and other New York first responders. Vogue explains the meaning behind the shoot on its website, "When Hurricane Sandy hit, the city’s bravest and brightest punched back. With the area now on the mend, we paid these stalwart souls a visit, dressed up in the best of the New York collections. Call them New York’s other finest."
Vogue’s explanations has not stopped growing outrage and concerns that Vogue’s photo shoot crossed the line, reported the Huffington Post on Jan. 17. “But that hasn't quelled outrage from commenters saying that Vogue's spread crosses the line in nestling $3,000 gowns amidst some of Sandy's most hard-hit neighborhoods, giving them the effect of bizarre ornaments.,” the publication writes.
Slate calls the images “inappropriate,” “provocative” and “idiotic.”
The Guardian, however, offers a different perspective. “Unlike previous controversial shoots, there is more meaning behind Annie Leibovitz's images than first meets the eye. They are not scenes of catastrophe with a model hitching her skirt in the general direction of devastation,” writes The Guardian. The paper continues, “while photographing Karlie Kloss on the Bellvue neonatal ward might seem incongruous, the picture does at least include the medical staff who work there. All the pictures include members of the emergency services, and their stories about how Sandy unfolded for them.”
The Guardian concludes that commentators reaction to the fashion magazine’s photo shoot suggest that there are some who think “the fashion world has no business getting involved in a situation as serious as Sandy. But this isn't a drive-by interest on the part of Vogue; while working with the CDFA, the magazine helped to raise $1.7m (£1.06m) for the relief effort.”
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