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Watch: Bruce Weber's Short Film for YSL


Bruce Weber produced a short film that played before the YSL show in Paris today, called "Ain't Nothin' Like the Real Thing" (aka "Ode to Twinks").

Watch (warning briefly nsfw), AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. In 1978, Weber (not yet a famous photographer) shot a spread for SoHo News (now gone) with his male muse, Jeff Aquilon, called "What to Wear When the Landlord Finally Turns the Heat On.";jsessionid=53h9ddmde1.zebra_s?p=1&n=1&m=24&c=4&l=0&w=4&s=0&z=9

    At the time, this soft porn fantasy spread rocked the fashion industry leaving many wanting to know... Who was this radical photographer shaking up the old order with a sneak attack & who does he think he is, giving us male beauty as fashion??? SoHo News could not keep printing enough copies of that issue. Weber & Aquilon made each other's career.
    Over thirty years later, Weber still seeks his male muse (new & improved) to rekindle the glory days.

    That's today lesson in American Eye Candy 101, kids. Now, do your homework.

    Posted by: Marcito | Jan 23, 2010 6:14:31 AM

  2. This is a very disturbing piece of pseudo-art and pseudo-philosophy.

    Disturbing not for its images of nude bodies, which are lovely to look at.

    But disturbing because Weber is peddling a vision of innocent youth-hood that is nostalgic in the worst sense: a nostalgia for an innocent freedom that few, if any, of us (as queer men) ever experienced. Innocent because of the age and actions of the main players, freedom because of their ambiguous sexuality. Boys being boys, no need for labels, sort of tripe. The intended result, I presume, is to evoke a wistfulness in the (queer man) viewer...but a wistfulness for what? A past that never actually happened? For our own lost "opportunities"? For what we could have (but not really) done with our own youth-hoods?

    And all this nostalgia for a time that never was, wrapped in some red herring, apologistic meditation on the career of an unknown ("forgotten") photographer of nude (probably cash-strapped) young women, arguably an exploiter of her subjects? Or in an unnecessary, redundant critique of prudism and shame (as though we weren't all aware that, yes, attractive nude bodies are beautiful, and it's okay to show them (yours) and to look at them)?

    It is a work of shame, though it claims to denounce shame. By couching the terms of its visuals in a text that places the responsibility of not displaying the nude bodies on the subject themselves ("boys/girls have to ask their boyfriends/girlfriends if it is okay to pose nude"), the text perverts the question of agency on the one hand (after all, it is the right of the subject to refuse to display him/herself in a "consensual" situation) and culpability (the body does not "get shot"; the photographer shoots). The photographer in the text absolves himself of his desire to scope, to view, to shoot the (young, innocent, nude) body, by blaming the subject for hesitating in displaying his/her own body. As though the body's subjectivity (which, it is understood, wants itself to be viewed) were being stifled by the subject.

    The problem is that bodies don't think, they don't have subjectivity apart from the subject.

    By displacing agency and culpability in this way, the photographer betrays his own inner shame at desiring to look at, view (at a remove, through a lens), shoot/capture (control), and display (exploit), his subjects nude bodies (not his subjects). He does not take responsibility for his desire, or the act of viewing, shooting, and displaying. He cannot admit his desire or own his actions. The closest he gets to such an admission is yet another, though quite telling, displacement - an apology for another photographer of young nude bodies. We can only assume that she serves as an analogy for Weber himself. So Weber, in a twisted, contorted, self-hating, irresponsible fashion is excusing himself for excusing (and "rehabilitating") Bunny.

    The end result is a piece of dishonest, aesthetically-uninteresting trash. The narrator (Weber himself, I presume) is just another dirty old man, just another amateur Internet pornographer, only blessed with the cash for a higher production value. And he's a manipulator of memory and emotions: what he has presented is not a vision of any sort of past reality (admittedly, artists are not under any obligation to (re-)present reality), but fantasy of nude boys (and an invented history for the viewer), trying to pass itself off as a noble call to Edenic return.

    Posted by: Andalusian Dog | Jan 23, 2010 12:50:46 PM

  3. Hear hear, andalusian!

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 23, 2010 1:19:41 PM

  4. There is no sentence containing the words "homosexuality is fundamentally about" that is not pompous nonsense.

    The video is slight but charming.

    Posted by: Distingue Traces | Jan 23, 2010 2:38:42 PM

  5. Proof, once again, that gay men are their own worst enemies.

    I want to add to my above diatribe: it would almost be digestible if Weber's text had been: "I am a photographer who enjoys shooting nude young men, because they are beautiful and desirable. I think the viewer enjoys looking at them too." That would be fair and honest.

    I apologize for all the parentheticals in my above comments - bad, caffeine-induced writing. It makes more sense if you skip over them.

    Posted by: Andalusian Dog | Jan 23, 2010 2:58:44 PM

  6. @andalusian dog,

    you put way too much thought into this. or, rather, you put someone else's thoughts into this. i don't know why people think they can plagiarize and not get caught.

    the comment by TANK directly below explains it. there is always a chuckle head who will say, "yeah, me too. what he said."

    Posted by: nic | Jan 23, 2010 3:07:27 PM

  7. @NIC: I assure you, I did not plagiarize. Please let me know where you think I am plagiarizing from. It's a rather serious accusation.

    But I agree with you, I probably did put too much thought into what I wrote.

    Posted by: Andalusian Dog | Jan 23, 2010 5:20:37 PM

  8. @Adog,

    here's the thing: as a university prof who has taught rhetoric and composition, i can easily detect off-the-cuff writing as opposed to paste and copy. the comment you posted was too well studied to be an off-hand comment on a blog.

    i have soft-ware that detects intellectual dishonesty. i withdraw my accusation until i know more.

    Posted by: nic | Jan 23, 2010 5:56:23 PM

  9. NIC, don't embarrass yourself. Not everyone is as limited as you are; the projection is transparent. I guarantee that teaching 1101 english as an adjunct "professor" ain't argument. And we know this because if you did, in fact, know how to argue, you'd come across as someone with at least a graduate education instead of an elderly, quasi literate letch.

    As to this, it doesn't really merit that kind of analysis, though I enjoyed reading it a lot like I enjoy reading poetry. Film criticism like literary criticism is the domain of people who are ignorant of analytic aesthetics, i.e., people who don't value logic and reason in analyzing films, books, etc. Dressing it up with the technical details of craftsmanship does not obscure the glaring shortcomings of literary critics and film critics in an inability to provide a coherent analysis of their subject (which, unfortunately, many would relish). It becomes a game of self referential doublespeak that eventually loses all connection to anything but itself.

    This is garbage with no real message other than peddling young flesh. To be honest, it's worse than the awkward fumblings of a mediocre film student. Perhaps a self conscious desire to be the expense of any coherent message that isn't clumsily stitched to it. The baby scene? Oy. As to it expressing the barely concealed self disgust of its maker, and desire for straight men...I just don't think it's that meaningful.

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 23, 2010 6:27:14 PM

  10. @NIC: by all means, use your software...

    I teach as well (yes, at university), and take the accusation quite seriously - in addition to all the blame for the bad writing style, which for some reason you think is "studied."

    O captain, my captain, I fear that your students may not have a competent coxswain at the stern of their hull if you would allow my first comments to pass as "studied." Then again, maybe you teach night classes at the local community college. In which case, might I recommend you not quit your proverbial day job?

    @Tank: hear, hear!

    Posted by: Andalusian Dog | Jan 23, 2010 9:18:46 PM

  11. @adog and tank,

    you guys are so cute. i would pinch all eight of your cheeks if i could. (ok, that is a reference to, and somewhat borrowed from, the simpsons.) and to tank, i would chuck your chins, but i would get tired.

    Posted by: nic | Jan 23, 2010 11:43:53 PM

  12. @adog,

    if you think this topic deserves a graduate thesis, perhaps, you may want to take more care about splitting infinitives.

    Posted by: nic | Jan 24, 2010 12:18:01 AM

  13. I'm not FAT, DICK! You're dead to me! ha ha ha

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 24, 2010 1:11:48 PM

  14. @Nic:

    I already excused myself for the bad writing in my first comment, so what you wrote is redundant. Further, you obviously don't know what a split infinitive is, as I have found only the following infinitives in my three above comments:

    (First comment)
    to look at
    to evoke
    to show
    to look at
    to denounce
    to ask
    to pose
    to refuse
    to display
    to scope
    to view
    to shoot
    to be viewed (not a split infinitive, but a passive infinitive construction)
    to look at
    to (re-)present
    to pass

    (Second comment)
    to add

    (Third comment)
    to pass

    None of these infinitives, as you can see, are split.

    Now, if you are referring to my phrase, "to look at, view (at a remove, through a lens), shoot/capture (control), and display (exploit)," in which I dropped the particle "to" before the bare infinitive, this was a matter of style; I had already used a serial full-infinitive phrase once above (to scope, to view, to shoot). It is not grammatically incorrect.

    For that matter, neither is a split infinitive. Bare infinitives can be split from their particle ("to") per the stylistic judgment of the author. It is a matter of...guess what?..the RHETORIC that you claim to have taught to college students.

    With professors like you, who needs enemies. No wonder the current state of our educational system.

    Would you like me to shame you again? Keep writing.


    Posted by: Andalusian Dog | Jan 24, 2010 2:51:17 PM

  15. that's OK, TANK. you were never alive to me. har, har, har, urp.

    Posted by: nic | Jan 24, 2010 5:40:37 PM

  16. I should have said, "None of these infinitives IS split," to be grammatically correct.

    Posted by: Andalusian Dog | Jan 24, 2010 5:57:59 PM

  17. @adog,

    where should i begin...?

    parentheticals are not what you presume them to be. let's start there.

    Posted by: nic | Jan 24, 2010 6:56:50 PM

  18. @andalusian dog,

    con todo respeto, amigo. you said, "Please let me know where you think I am plagiarizing from."

    shouldn't it be, "from where do you think..."? if it is not a split infinitive, what is it? help me out, dude. there is a usage problem there.

    Posted by: nic | Jan 24, 2010 7:09:18 PM

  19. @adog, you are not shaming me. you are challenging me.

    Posted by: nic | Jan 24, 2010 7:12:35 PM

  20. Do doors challenge you, too?

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 24, 2010 7:34:26 PM

  21. @TANK,

    i heard that you were stuck in a revolving door for a week. if i am dead to you and you never existed to me, why are we having this talk?

    i am engaged in a conversation with a man i respect. why don't you leave me the fuck alone?

    Posted by: nic | Jan 24, 2010 8:41:54 PM

  22. That is a nice short film!

    Posted by: Liberty Quarter Eagle | Jan 25, 2010 1:12:31 AM

  23. this was very boring. his longer film "chop suey" is more entertaining.

    Posted by: shoepins | Jan 26, 2010 12:38:39 AM

  24. Great article and post, we will submit your article to our social network and our twitter, thanks and please post our comment, as we will put a link as well on our blog to your article. Thanks!

    Posted by: Canadian Drugs | Aug 11, 2010 10:24:44 PM

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