Eurasian-model

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Haha I never saw this edit before! More from the Maywufa Colorful campaign I did a while back.

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Doritos Crash the Superbowl contest! Advertisement shot and edited by Kevin Lee. Filming done in 5 hours time and editing done in only a few hours… not a bad final product for such a quick production ;)

anonymous asked:

Saw your rant on yellowfacing and agree 10/10. Got in an argument with a friend about Karlie Kloss' feature in vogue and he raised some interesting questions, some of which I don't agree with, but don't know how to respond to: If a white model were born and raised in Japan would you still have a problem with it? If you do then wouldn't it be discriminating against white people? Also what about biracial/eurasian models? Would it be racist for them to do what she did? Would love your views on this

these are good questions and offer interesting points. 

time to blow the dust off my media criticism degree and look at these photos.

as an artist, you have to master your message. you have to be aware of every single thing in an image because you’re the one who creates the universe and places every single object in its place. every detail, from hierarchy to scale to placement is part of the message. if you don’t know how your own imagery reads, you are not a master of your medium. 

with that in mind, let’s look at the photos critically and how these images may support themes of white supremacy, eurocentric beauty, and the way fashion looks at culture. think about how these images frame japanese people vs white people.

Karlie is the center of this image. The human face naturally draws the eye as its the most relatable image one can use in any medium. She is also very much in the foreground and scaled to be more prominent than the objects in the background.

Notice that the japanese presence in this photo is restricted to objects. Everything that is japanese in this photo is a prop or accessory to her visually. Even though she is outnumbered by the amount of japanese objects around her, she is still the hierarchal focal point. (the massive amount of objects in the background also suggests that the model, karlie, is exceptional and rare while these objects are common and bountiful). karlie takes hierarchal and thematic precedent as she is the only non-japanese thing in the image as well as the only person.

I could easily read this photo as a reduction of japanese culture to its artistic contributions. I could read this photo as defining japanese aesthetics and beauty to everything but japanese people. Even if that’s not the actual purpose of this photo, the isolation of Karlie, the presence of japanese culture being contained to objects, frames her and japanese culture in this way.

but maggie, there’s photos where she’s not the only one depicted

correct. there appears to be a japanese sumo wrestler in this image. but think about how he functions in it. is he the main subject or an accessory and prop to the main subject? if the sumo was the main subject of this photo, he would be brought more into the foreground. he shares the foreground with karlie here so the japanese “object” of this photo is still not the main subject. his positioning lowers his head below hers, making her the tallest point and apex of the photo.

hierarchy is then established by color and contrast- the only presence of strong color is on karlie and the eye still goes to her, making her again the real focal point of the image and rendering everything japanese about the image an accessory to her.

take into consideration how the humans interact. neither are looking at one another. neither are interacting with one another. one of the strongest compositional parts of this photo is that void of space between her hand and his shoulder, the distance between them. for those in the discussion who say they only say “a love and respect for japanese culture” in these photos, please tell me where there is love for japanese people in this photo.

same formula. the most characteristically japanese object in the photo is just that- an object. it’s also placed far in the background while karlie and her dress inhabit the foreground. her dress could only be interpreted as japanese inspired in an abstract sense, imitating a wave. no presence of even japanese textiles, construction, or patterns to speak of- all of which are very strong elements of the culture. no, the presence of japanese culture is way way far off in the distance and is only the backdrop to accentuate and hold up the lone white human in the photo. 

this one’s my favorite. i presume the woman tending to Karlie is asian. again, think about how that woman functions in this photo and whether or not she’s a subject or accessory/prop. you don’t even see their face, which alienates you from them automatically.

they don’t share a plane. the composition of the photo is pyramid with the apex of course being karlie’s face. 

even in concept, you’re seeing a white woman being tended to by an asian woman.

again, there is no human intimacy/interaction between the two. karlie is not looking at the woman in the water but the woman is paying careful attention to karlie. the relationship being shown is unequal and role-based. what role is that woman playing in relation to karlie? if the woman is presumably japanese, how are japanese people seen in this photo? what is their function?

japan’s main function in this entire photoset is to complement, if not accentuate or even highlight the white woman’s beauty or depict her as somehow exceptional. the japanese people present in these photos? not depicted as exceptional, never the focal point, never the apex. almost every japanese element in these photos are accessories to the white woman. 

if an asian woman were the subject, the entire context would change. the photos would then celebrate japanese culture and its people. the imagery would celebrate a beauty other than eurocentric and take on a different narrative.

these photos communicate the beauty of japanese things but not japanese people. the world that is built in these photos suggest that the most beautiful way to present japanese culture is by accessorizing a white woman with it.

if an asian woman were framed the same way, not only would japan be the background, but also the foreground, also the subject, also the focal point. the photos would then not only be a celebration of japanese culture and its contributions but most importantly, its people. white folks think cultures are defined by everything but the people and that’s. well, racist.

in a vogue issue about diversity, no less.

i feel that some young asian girl will look at these photos and think that the only beautiful thing about her culture are the clothes, the hair, and the art. basically everything but her. these photos also highlight japanese art forms that are now rare in post war japan (thanks again, white people), which makes it even harder for a japanese woman of today to relate to and exemplify. so what’s the message then? feudal japan was the most beautiful japan? because it’s exotic?

art communicates our most fundamental subconscious thoughts. so even if these images are meant to appreciate rather than appropriate, the artist’s subconscious views on white people’s relationship to the world is apparent and well. supremacist.

TLDR;
i do not feel this was a matter of nationalism, but a matter of racism, white supremacy, eurocentric beauty, imperialism, and how whites portray themselves in relation to other people and cultures almost 100% of the time in art.

so even if the model was a japanese born white woman, that narrative of eurocentric beauty would still read the same in my opinion. nationality is not the issue. white supremacy, which is globalized, is.