Photography oscillates between two poles: the tripod and the hand, the compositional and the improvisational, the studio and the street. The hand-held, improvised picture – shot in the city, with a lightweight cameras and available light – has always put forward an aesthetic critique: the rejection of overly determinative technique and academic notions of composition. The street photograph represents a more immediate, engaged, lived art.

That unstudied sophistication of the surreptitiously captured image is evident in Steven Meisel’s new photographs of Maddison Brown, Hailey Gates, Mia Goth, Stacy Martin for the Miu Miu FW’15 campaign. That the campaign has a title, Subjective Reality, and each individual image is subtitled, is poignant. The seemingly off-hand compositional and perspectival logic suggests an highly subjective gaze: a bystander is captured mid-gesture, a car window partially frames the street, backgrounds are populated by the mini-dramas of passersby. The actresses meet that gaze, at times almost defiantly, as if interrupted mid-sentence by the intrusive lens of the photographer.

Photographer: Steven Meisel
Talent: Maddison Brown, Hailey Gates, Mia Goth, Stacy Martin
Date: May 2015
Location: New York