February 14, 2013

Arsenic and Old Lace

Edward Steichen and Paolo Roversi

To commemorate her transition out of silent films and into motion pictures with sound or talkies, Edward Steichen photographed American actress Gloria Swanson in 1924. A pioneer in the field of fashion photography, Steichen would build a prolific body of work capturing the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age. In Swanson’s portrait, Steichen suspended a piece of black lace directly between Swanson and the camera, capturing what he later referred to in his biography as “her look of a leopardess lurking behind leafy shrubbery, watching her prey.” Acne Paper Issue 9 FW 2009 featured an editorial starring Tilda Swinton channeling not Gloria Swanson but the Italian heiress Marchesa Luisa Casati. Photographed by Paolo Roversi, the image clearly references Steichen’s well-known photograph with the use of lace, veiling Tilda Swinton who appears to take on the role of the prey rather than the predator.

Edward Steichen, 1924

Edward Steichen, 1924

 

Paolo Roversi, Acne Paper, Issue 9, FW 2009

Paolo Roversi, Acne Paper, Issue 9, FW 2009

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