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Karlie Kloss and the Body


I love Karlie Kloss. I live in her home town and she’s an icon around here. I saw her controversial Italian vogue spread a few weeks ago, and I also thought “wow, she looks thin.” But I also know her managers, and they are such loving, hands-on people, and I highly doubt they would let anorexia slip through the cracks. This image was the most shocking to me, and here are some words from the editor of vogue in response to the backlash:

A few thoughts from Franca Sozzani at Vogue.It

I think that letting people talk about things they don’t know, or about what they assume to be the truth, is rather interesting as it entails various conclusions.

First: who said these pictures have been heavily Photoshopped is wrong.

Second: very few understand photography and don’t know about the viewpoint a body can be shot from. If the bust is imbalanced with respect to the pelvis and the picture is not frontal, the hips will look wider and the waist thinner.

Third: not only Karlie is not anorexic but has a muscular body with a rounded contour due to the muscles’ tension, as you can see on the cover picture, where the “buttocks” are muscular and rounded, just like the thighs and the biceps, and to hush everyone up on this matter it will be enough to know that she was picked by Victoria’s Secret, the underwear line that loves real women par excellence and for which all models have posed: Adriana Lima, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Eva Herzigova, Laetitia Casta, Bar Rafaeli, Gisele Bundchen or Miranda Kerr. Victoria’s Secret would never use an anorexic model as this would clash with their philosophy that enhances a woman who is provocative and sexy, especially when wearing a bra and knickers or a micro-petticoat.

Fourth: I did not remove the first picture from the site because I thought it set a bad example due to its thinness, but because I am aware of the fact that people can easily attach labels without thinking, so I believed I could avoid a pointless debate. I made a mistake. I had to do what I thought was right, that is leave the picture and let everybody express their opinion freely. The picture is beautiful and that’s all.

A few years ago I had to argue with the readers when they accused Karen Elson, who is beautiful and has a very feminine figure, of being anorexic. Those pictures had been realized using a technique conceived by Man Ray called “distortion”. Images shot with an elongated “distorted” effect, a bit like when we look in a convex mirror, obtained using zoom lenses and in particular wide-range zoom lenses, but also with normal lenses and in this case the effect depends on how close the shot is made. The limbs look elongated and obviously thinner. It’s a photographic technique.

Fifth: I started my battle against pro-anorexia websites speaking as a layman and I would never want to set a bad example. But if in order to avoid doing “visible mistakes” I must give up on special and experimental pictures, I’d rather start photography courses to educate many people who work in this  field who don’t know anything about the history of photography.

Just to enlighten yourselves, have a look at the pictures shot by Penn or Avedon in the 50s and 60s as, although the models are clothed, you will understand that movement was key in their photography and the models’ moves where expressly over-enhanced to add depth to an image.

Sixth: before talking, why not just ask? I would have answered your doubts before, without causing so many pointless remarks.

And, by the way, don’t forget Karlie is first of all a classical ballet dancer and her body and mucles reflects this. Her body resembles that of Margot Fonteyn, one of the greatest classical ballet dancer of all times.