Saturday, February 28, 2009
Is Love's Beth cover a Ditto of NME's? No
A couple of Arcatistes have drawn my attention to the claim that Love's recent debut Beth Ditto cover is a rip-off of NME's Ditto cover in 2007 (left). I think not.
Whereas NME's is done in vulgar readers' wives style, with the clear intention to fetishise Ditto's voluptuous curves for the purpose of male self-pleasuring (consider the magazine's core readership), Love's is an asexual aestheticising of her form (given that the title is high fashion/art, gay, guest cunt-cock-cocking [ie straight female gay friendly]).
NME has stained Ditto's body with a tan hue: a visual trope of soft porn imagery. Red coverlines subliminally comfort the viewer in a tabloid red-top ambience while the red kiss lips mark on her buttock cheek is both playful and defiant, a common attitude struck by glamour models: a fake frisson is enticing to those who require the simulacrum of will in a sex doll. Ditto bears a Victorian-style come-hither countenance, her lips parted for the fantasy possibility of a reader blow-job, her hair bottled brunette because blonde would not work against the yellowy-gold background, redolent of the sun/Sun - however, given the model's colouring, brunette is most unsuitable here which is paradoxical perfection: colour clash reassures she's human, lower class, not quite with alienating perfecting. At its most extreme this cover is a poster for the taste that finds expression in the movie Feed.
Love's cover is more suggestive of classless exclusion: you are invited merely to admire the thing on the canvas, not to auto-eroticise, not to take part. The light-bleaching of Ditto's body transmutes flesh to stone (white marble?), the deep purple of closed lips hints at sexual unavailability if not death in its advance stage. Ditto's eyes are closed; she is lost in her own world (or dead again?); the viewer's role in this exhibition is to stand back in awed respect, as an aspirant window shopper with nose pressed against Harvey Nicks glass. Fat folds are light minimised, one is not encouraged to be prurient: the red copper hair exists only for one purpose: to set off for complementary effect the mint green background. The squiggly cover-choral-lines both artfully accentuate Ditto's natural curves and script editorial unorthodoxy and personalisation. Ditto's pink, ruched fig-leaf connotes a stylish and witty portcullis to further inquiry.
On other matters, an Arcatiste has kindly referred me to the website of Terry Richardson - the Love photographer whom I described as "off my radar". I now realise why - this is his mother ...