On the shifting nature of fame, author Jill Neimark writes that “where once the famous achieved an almost godlike status, one that seemed impermeable and historical, today celebrity exists for and by an information age.” There is a new template for fame and it involves the disclosure of personal information as a form of social currency. The once enigmatic and elusive figure that fans would project their own dreams and hopes onto has slowly dissipated into obscurity and been replaced with a figure that is online and available for public consumption. The less one shares, the more they fade out of public consciousness.
We want to see the person as a product and learn about the process of becoming them--how they apply their makeup, what they eat, where they sleep, and we want it in real time. Product endorsements are a signifier of fame and are presented as a tool to achieve emulation. Past icons are protected on their pedestals of fame and mystery because their rise predated tools like social media that are built on an excess of mundane details about people’s lives or because premature deaths left us with more questions than answers, maintaining the mystery. Yet it is a different kind of fame than that which builds icons. It is now through familiarity that we connect, no longer do we spend much time speculating--there is an entitlement to personal information. So much is exposed, that the cloak of mystery is dropped and we are left with a person and not a god.
I took iconic people and moments and recreated them in a present day context. I imagined what new archetypes these people or characters would potentially embody if their rise to fame was happening now. I explored the idea of constant visibility and self presentation, product endorsements, an infatuation with technology, and a general sense of ennui that seems to permeate so much imagery today. Justin Gossman w/Wilhelmina NYC was cast as Mick Jagger. Sam Evans w/Next LA & Wilhelmina NYC got into character as Elvis, James Dean, and Marlon Brando in "A Streetcar Named Desire." Lacey Claire Rogers w/No Ties became Frida Kahlo, Priscilla Presley, Amy Winehouse, and Marilyn Monroe.
Photography by Kat Kaye
Models: Sam Evans w/Next Models LA and Wilhelmina NYC, Lacey Claire Rogers w/No Ties Management, Justin Gossman w/Wilhelmina LA/NYC and New Madison Paris
Wardrobe Stylist: Sabrina Che
Hair Stylist: Jen Puebla Alfaro
Makeup Artist: Sam Takao
View the webitorial at www.fantasticsmag.com/stories/new-iconic