Photographer: Steven Meisel
Art Director: Giovanni Bianco
Stylist: Olivier Rizzo
Casting: Maddison Brown, Hailey Gates,
Stacy Martin, Mia Goth
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 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.
That improvisational spirit matches the mood of the collection: materials, colors, and textures collide and overlap. Scale and detail shift radically.
In keeping with the spirit of street photography, each of the images in the campaign are individually titled. These texts are cryptic, fragmented; only partial clues. Instead of closing interpretation, and in effect explaining the image, the writing here has the opposite effect. It makes the image, and the implied image-maker, even more mysterious. The text underscores the subjectivity and the personal vision it contains. It points to an invisible presence, the author, but only in the most oblique way. Subjectivity is passed and the true reading is left to the imagination of the viewer.