Saturday, August 28, 2010

Volte Face.

I was peculiarly but none the less pleasantly taken aback by Anthony Maule's latest photographic prowesse, starring Samantha Gradoville styled by Samuel François, and published in the latest issue of Numéro. It's the third time he has worked in collaboration with the publication, and as a regular buyer of the magazine (regardless its quality, which keeps on decreasing) I was introduced to his photography a few months back.

His way of using lighting and black and white or vibrant colors onto a plain backdrop so as to showcase the clothes can hardly be overlooked for it's a recurring occurence within his imagery, and that's more or less what drew my interest, not to mention he's the single photographer Numéro's fond of who get to surprise me, whether it's positively or not. In spite of the straightforwardness of the editorial Volte Face, you can hardly ever mistake it for a studio editorial you could stumble upon while leafing through US or UK Vogue - simplicity doesn't mean there's no room for inspiration, Maule knows it.

Every elements that make his photography visually pleasing and editorially interesting are to be seen throughout that spread. I have noticed he has often been hired to lens stories whose purpose was to display minimalist and graphic clothes, and the more I became familiar with his work the more I understood why. Under his guidance, streamlined clothing is everything but mundane. His capability of enhancing the detailing of the fabric the pieces are made from, their clean lines and that of the body that wears them is, if not groundbreaking, at least impressive. I can already hear the criticisms rolling in as to his tendency to lean towards black and white, though. I know the choice of such (absence of) color palette is considered unefficient ; but Calvin Klein and co are renowned for their mastery of cuts and shapes above all, aren't they..? Resorting to colors would only steal the focus from them and add a unecessary clutter to the overall unfussy vibe.

As for the model choice, kudos to the casting director for picking Samantha. I personally think her features - the thick brows along with the stern and defiant stare - fit the entire atmosphere to a T. Once again, I wouldn't be surprised if she got picked on because of her static poses and the short range of facial expressions she provided (not to mention relatively new girls often get unfairly put down)... but what would be the point in over-playing when the mood of the story per se doesn't ask for it?

I cannot say it enough ; congratulations to the magazine staff for binding the right model, photographer and stylist together. And if you happen to be as interested as I am in Anthony Maule's imagery, here are a few links to some past work of his : 01 - 02 - 03

Source : scanned by me.


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