The book no one anticipated made its way to fans of the trio across different countries this week. It is a book no one really saw coming. To say something like this implies it has made a big splash and has blown everything out the water. I think it is much more tongue and cheek than creative genius. Although it is an object I am happy has come into our lives the whole thing raises issues within notions of fame.
They can churn out any old shit and people will buy it.
That is the point.
You have three famous people, all-famous for different reasons. Kanye West, a self proclaimed asshole, accidentally, Kim Kardashian, well were not quite sure what she does and Juergen Teller, a famed German photographer known for depicting famous people but not quite with that rusty David Bailey technique. All three are justified in the limelight for various reasons.
They come together as friends.
It is a similar notion of Paul McCartney releasing a song with Kanye, which I particularly enjoy despite the selfcentered nature of the song. And much like the Bound 2 video Kanye has once again managed to get people to buy a product of his own happiness.
It was mentioned that Kanye did the styling and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was all Kanye’s idea. Juergen obviously thought it would make an interesting splash and he wasn’t wrong. I took this book to a house party, full of lots of people with different backgrounds and professions. Some liked it, some hated it, my friend kept looking at it and shaking his head. His words were “It’s so bad”.
Others thought it was interesting. I thought it was baffling.
Such on the divide of opinion with Kim and Kanye’s public lives they are people that everyone knows, either loves or hates. But they are happy.
You only need to see the front cover to see that.
Coming from one of the biggest Kanye fans, it’s a bit shit.
For all his brilliance it isn’t his greatest moment, but I think it’s a perfect by product of fame. Much like a photographer can release a book regardless of the work being any good when they reach a certain fame, this is the same scenario.
The magazine structure of the publication makes you wonder why you spend £25 on this object. The front cover is a slick, typical Teller design. There are some decent portraits. If you are a fan of Kim’s larger backside then this is for you. If you like the weird and wonderful world that heightened fame gives then it is a fascinating comment. But I wonder if that was intentional.
The mind of someone famous is led to believe they are known and either liked or loathed. They are regular people but more people follow their happenings. Most of us just get likes from our mum, dad and sister, close friends and maybe someone from Europe if we play our cards right. They have everyone following their movements so its no surprise they exploit this for their own financial gain and this comes to my first point. The price.
It is £25. There are a lot of things you can buy for £25, five meal deals a week, a decent t-shirt or a book by an independent artist. But I instantly got my money out for this one, mainly through curiosity.
The second thing to consider is the actual content. Much like I expected the people involved have clouded my thoughts. A trio of people drive to a woodland area in Château d’Ambleville, France. Kanye has picked a minimal outfit for his wife and has picked out his best idea of what he thinks Skyrim might look like if it were real.
Kanye closes his eyes. Takes a breath and imagines himself as the black Jesus, Yeezus you can call him. He closes his eyes and puts his fist to the floor.
Another appearance he has is as he exits the car. The beautiful Porsche to his left, he stands there with his best sulky expression. This for me is the crowd pleaser.
The best photographs in the ‘book’ come from Kim Kardashian. These may be down to obvious reasons; after all there are a lot of assets that make her quite beautiful, despite what you think of the person behind it all. They seem to be most composed pictures from Juergen Teller, who has played a very small part so far. They appear like typical Teller photographs, with a hint of grain the photographs say a very loud nearly, but they are acceptable when you look at the rest of the photographs. At last the element that bemused half the people at the house party. A man wheeling a suitcase around impractical hills, wearing short shorts, hairy but cyclist legs, red coat. Wading through rivers as we can only assume Kanye picking up Teller’s camera and doing his best attempt to get a sharp image. He has about a 50% hit rate. The combination of these three elements has the kind of feeling that I got when the cast of Scrubs attempt to recreate a medieval tale. It was shit.
For me, there are some fascinating elements to this publication and it has nothing to do with the content, as you can see seems to be very minimal. The most interesting aspect is that the book was even made, and that comment on photographic development shows where we are with already famed photographers. Churn out anything and people will buy it. They have got us, not the other way.
If you buy the publication and I really think you should, depending on your ethics or moral values. I for one do not regret buying it.
It feels like a film you saw in the cinema that didn’t intend to make you laugh but it did anyway. You know, those comedy dramas.
To summarise, it is probably the best idea anyone has ever come up with, but carried out in the worst way possible. Nether the less it could go down as one of the important documents in photography. I think that makes an interesting reflection as to where we are at the moment.
But tomorrow is another day.