Harper's Bazaar has a brilliant editorial, The Politics of Fashion, in the February 2008 issue. Nadja Auermann, one of the super models I admire, is featured in the campaign trails of some of the US presidential candidates and political figures. The Politics of Fashion is edited by Mary Alice Stephenson, and photographed by Peter Lindbergh.These photos, though, look like being creatively photoshopped.
The 2008 US presidential primary elections have begun across the country in January 2008. This year, the presidential primary elections have diverse candidates in terms of ethnic background and gender. It is quite interesting to look at these political figures from a fashion photography perspective.
Political experiences, issue positions, voting records and leadership are still main qualities to be considered for presidential candidates. Of course, these qualities cannot be determined through a few fashion photos. However, there is one more element the public is looking for; Charisma. Charisma is a natural attribute and a personal style that someone else can barely imitate.
Before TV became popular in the late 1950s to early 1960s, radio was the effective medium for politicians to convey messages. After that, the form of media has evolved from news channel, live broadcasting, internet news, blooming Blogs/forums, YouTube and etc. The massive bombardment in information, photo images, and video clips has rapidly changed the images of political figures. The evolution of media has also changed the requirements for political figures, especially for those president candidates. Before appearing on TV, president hopefuls apply makeup, groom their hair (remember, John Edward reportedly spent $400 on his haircut) and make sure their clothing appeal to their supporters. Especially, with all the high definition television and photography, any imperfections (i.e.: double chins, wrinkles, grey hairs) will be exposed cruelly. A gesture, a smile, a facial expression, or a color change of suit is meaningful in the science of body language. It also accounts for part of the political communication process for politicians to shape and reshape their image, form and reform the tangible and intangible messages to the public. And, that’s the power of beauty and fashion.