Monday, 3 December 2012



The history of celebrity
• The relationship between photography/film/tv and celebrity
• The cultural significance of celebrities
• How contemporary identity and celebrity are intertwined
• Contemporary icons as case studies 


Celebrity portraits in the Pictorialist tradition- the period of the late 19th early 20th century.  A style that imitated painting: soft focus, toning such as sepia, romantic/theatrical themes  
The Bride (1869) 

Mariana "She said I am aweary, aweary”. 1875
Sitters are often acting scenes from mythology or religious themes 
Christina and her sister Marie were well known in society as beautiful, educated, and cultured women. Both sisters posed for famous Aesthetic artists like Whistler and Victorian artists such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti. 
English Poet Alfred Lord Tennyson.
• Male celebrities of the day were given a different treatment photographically
• The book represents his literary achievements
• More solid, less ethereal 

Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince 
Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince (born Metz 28 August 1841, vanished 16 September 1890) was an inventor who shot the first moving pictures on paper film using a single lens camera. He has been heralded as the "Father of Cinematography" since 1930.
A Frenchman who also worked in the United Kingdom and the United States, Le Prince conducted his ground-breaking work in 1888 in the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, UK.
In October 1888, Le Prince filmed moving picture sequences Roundhay Garden Scene and a Leeds Bridge street scene using his single-lens camera and Eastman's paper film. These were several years before the work of competing inventors such as Auguste and Louis Lumière and Thomas Edison.
He was never able to perform a planned public demonstration in the United States because he mysteriously vanished from a train on 16 September 1890. His body and luggage were never found, but, over a century later, a police archive was found to contain a photograph of a drowned man who could have been him. Le Prince's disappearance allowed Thomas Edison to take the credit for the invention of motion pictures, but he has been heralded as 'The Father of Cinematography', in current times. - WIKI

The Artist, 2011 Directed by Michel Hazanavicius 
Refers to this era - silent movie, live music and subtitles 
Golden globes

Baker costumed for the Danse banane from the Folies Bergères production Un Vent de Folie in Paris in 1927
Her success coincides with the Art Deco movement which takes influence from African art 
Baker costumed for the Danse banane for the Folies Bergères production Un Vent de Folie, Paris 1927
Her success coincides with the Art Deco movement which takes influence from African art
American of mixed descent but found fame in France as an exotic dancer, nicknamed the "Bronze Venus", the "Black Pearl", and the "Créole Goddess".
Acted in films from 1927 onwards

Had a pet Cheetah which sometimes escaped into the orchestra pit. 
A muse for contemporary authors, painters, designers, and sculptors including Langston Hughes, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, and Christian Dior.
Jewish husband and agreed to spy on the Nazis using her position / access to important people internationally.


  • Celebrities, Glamour, Live Music and Fashion.
  • Fashion Rocks is more than an event – we are a unique brand that transcends the worlds of fashion & music.
  • We are one of the most exciting combined fashion and music fundraising events ever, harnessing the powerful influences of fashion and music to raise money for charity.
  • Our unique eCommerce and retail concept FR by Fashion Rocks will dazzle and wow you. Boasting unique, contemporary and on trend ready to wear fashion from the most exciting designers, some well-known favourites and some unique new gen. FR is 'got to have' fashion for those who are inspired equally by the street, the stage and the catwalk.
  • We are Fashion Rocks. 

    Beyoncé Knowles has portrayed Baker on various accounts throughout her career. During the 2006 Fashion Rocks show, Knowles performed "Dejá Vu" in a revised version of the Danse banane costume. In Knowles's video for "Naughty Girl", she is seen dancing in a huge champagne glass á La Baker. In I Am... Yours: An Intimate Performance at Wynn Las Vegas, Beyonce lists Baker as an influence of a section of her live show. 

Between 1927 and 1960
The Jazz Singer is the first feature-length motion picture with synchronized dialogue sequences
Mae McAvoy
Classical style of invisible editing where image and sound should not draw attention to.
“King of Hollywood” starred opposite many star actresses of the time in silent films and on stage
US army Air Corps during WWII 
William Clark Gable (February 1, 1901 – November 16, 1960), known as Clark Gable, was an American film actor most famous for his role as Rhett Butler in the 1939 Civil War epic film Gone with the Wind, in which he starred with Vivien Leigh. His performance earned him his third nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor; he won for It Happened One Night (1934) and was also nominated for Mutiny on the Bounty (1935). Later movies included Run Silent, Run Deep, a submarine war film, and his final film, The Misfits (1961), which paired Gable with Marilyn Monroe, also in her last screen appearance. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Gable seventh among the greatest male stars of all time.
Gable appeared opposite some of the most popular actresses of the time. Joan Crawford, who was his favorite actress to work with, was partnered with Gable in eight films, Myrna Loy worked with him seven times, and he was paired with Jean Harlow in six productions. He also starred with Lana Turner in four features, and with Norma Shearer and Ava Gardner in three each. In the mid-1930s, Gable was often named the top male movie star, and second only to the top box-office draw of all, Shirley Temple. -WIKI
Known for willingness to play unlikeable characters
Mildred in Of Human Bondage (1934), and Regina Giddens in The Little Foxes (1941).
married a man who claimed he had never heard of her 
Actress, singer,
• Relationships with Arthur Miller and the Kennedys
• Iconic as a ‘sex symbol’
• Her death freezes this status as her image will never disintegrate

Her face becomes a mask as it is endlessly repeated in publicity, the news,
The idea that there is a different woman underneath ie: Norma Jean Baker prevails
Circumstances of her death seem to confirm/not confirm this simultaneously as she becomes ‘myth’ 
Audrey Flack’s Marilyn (1977) 
In the tradition of the 16th/17th Century Vanitas painting where objects in the image have symbollic meaning
Photorealism- airbrush 


Warhol uses an image of him acting the classic American hero- the cowboy
• Blurs our vision, reminds us that the image is all we can see
• His home Graceland is a place of pilgrimage for fans, then a museum after his death
Warhols Factory photographed by Richard Avedon (1969) 
Factory churns out products, collection of outsiders or subcultures 
Celebrity politician- youth and good looks
• Television speeches
• Fashionable beautiful wife 

His death in 1963 was not filmed by TV cameras but by the public 

President Kennedy's last seconds traveling through Dealey Plaza were recorded on silent 8 mm film for the 26.6 seconds before, during, and immediately following the assassination. This famous film footage was taken by garment manufacturer and amateur cameraman Abraham Zapruder, in what became known as the Zapruder film. 

John Logie Baird's demonstration of televised moving images in 1926 
“Golden age” begins in late 40’s and goes through 50’s and 60’s
Focus on drama as entertainment
Late 50’s early 60’s TV became commonplace in UK and US homes

Musicians /performers
• 1971 The Jackson 5 had an animated cartoon on TV
• 1976 they star in a comedy where they act as themselves 
The changes in Michaels appearance are interpreted as reactions to the abuse he and his family suffered at the hands of their father.
• He looks less like his father by reducing his African American features: nose, skin colour, afro hair etc. 
Material Girl 1985
• Postmodern recycling of the Golden Era of Hollywood
• Pastiche of Marilyn’s performance of Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend in Gentleman Prefer Blondes (1953) 

Gentleman Prefer Blondes  (1953) 
Stills from the video Vogue
If Bordo argues that Madonna is Postmodern the Gaga is Post Postmodern as she reinvents herself almost for every public appearance.  Fire seems to out do Madonna's.  Fans argue over who is the most important.

A feminist statement: "If we don't stand up for our rights soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones. And I am not a piece of meat.” 
Chef Fergus Henderson, author of Nose To Tail Eating and someone who is noted for his use of offal and all cuts of meat, sees a similar hypocrisy in attitudes to eating meat. "People often don't want meat to look like meat. They want to neatly wrapped in plastic from a supermarket."

An anti fashion statement?  It doesn’t mean anything

Jana Sterbak (1987)
Dr Richard Noble, head of art department, Goldsmiths College, University of London. "She appears to be referencing the Canadian artist Jana Sterbak, who exhibited a 'flesh dress' made of meat. 
"It taps into the artistic tradition of the memento mori or the still life. The still life, after all, is a meditation on mortality and the state of decay.


‘Pop’ President
• His election seems to offer progress in American politics as he is the first black president
• Young, good looking, musical
• Employs graffiti artist Sheperd Fairey for his election campaign 

Represents innocence and beauty as the truth of her marriage to Charles emerges
Reinvents herself as fashion icon as they begin to separate 

Photographed by Mario Testino, fashion photographer 

Seem to be to blame for Diana’s death in 1997
But our demand for ‘real life’ images of celebrities creates a market for these images which command huge financial rewards 
We want to see the mask of celebrity lifted, we want to think that these idealised images are as flawed as our own real lives.

Contemporary ‘everyman’
• Beckhams as a brand
• Cross worlds of sport fashion and music
• Products include underwear fragrance as well as clothing
• Overcomes private life scandals- he seems invincible! 

Imagined family scenes like this portrait which plays on the conspiracy theories that Diana was killed because she was pregnant to Dodi Al Fayed 

SINCE 2006:
We can follow celebrities 
Details of their home and private lives
We can find out immediately of their latest projects 
Read their innermost thoughts   

How can we ‘keep in touch with celebrities lives?

Elvis’s Hair- $115,120 by selling a lock from the famous black quiff back in 2002.
Britney Spears Gum – $514
Scarlett Johanssons used tissue- $5,300 made for charity 

Celebrity items on ebay- the price of a piece of celebrity? We don’t want to just dress like them. We want their DNA..

Guy Debord Society of the Spectacle  

The spectacle is the inverted image of society in which relations between commodities have supplanted relations between people, in which "passive identification with the spectacle supplants genuine activity". "The spectacle is not a collection of images," Debord writes, "rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images."

“The more he contemplates, the less he lives.”

Spectacle vs Activism

One gathering in Vancouver had only 17 people; another in Brisbane had fewer than 50 attendees. In Canberra, several Facebook groups resulted in a few gatherings of two or three people each; Pierre Johannessen, a "law firm partner who runs a charity for disadvantaged children", distributed around 3,000 posters to the groups to be put up throughout the city. In Phoenix, 200 posters were put up by "college students and other people in their teens and 20s", along with a number of chalk and stencil messages.

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