“Our Last Hours Before He Killed Himself”

olga sherer by elisabeth toll bon magazine 2009 our last hours before he killed himself

I often say that many ‘artsier’ and edgier fashion editorials tell a story, or mean to at any rate. But even if creative directors, art directors and photographers have lofty narrative goals, the purpose of the shoots is to sell clothes. Or shoes, makeup, accessories or whatever.

But when a shoot is titled “Our Last Hours Before He Killed Himself”, as is this one by Elisabeth Toll with model Olga Sherer for a 2009 issue of Bon magazine…well, clearly the creative team had something narrative in mind. And that’s one hell of  title.

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New Orleans Noir

Streetcar of desire 1992 - 2

The copy for “Streetcar Of Desire”, a 1992 Harper’s Bazaar fashion editorial, almost reads like the cover tease for a steamy noir or erotic thriller (minus all the ‘lets-sell-pricey-lingerie’ stuff). “Languorous, sexual, darkly colored, (it) could be inspired by love and lust. These are looks to feed the flame of longing and light up the shadows of a summer night (with) reflections of Blanche DuBois – silk and lace against lily-white skin”. Hmmm, listen to my keyboard sizzle. Shot by Phillip Dixon, model Tatjana Patitz is more a French Quarter femme fatale than Blanche Dubois’ fey and faded beauty, but the images are enough to inspire any noir’s doomed love affair.

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Black Friday

Lila Cardona 1

I think the photo suite was titled “Black Friday”. Peter Gehrke shoots model Lila Cardona in a noir-ish homage, strictly black and white, for And Other Stories’ Black Friday campaign in 2018. It’s no stretch to concoct your own story for this series, with Cardona heading up the dark stairway, perhaps to her in-town love nest getaway. A call is made on arrival. To her lover for a rendezvous later? Well…could be. Or, just as likely, for a rendezvous with something much more sinister. She peers through the blinds, apprehensive, then glances at her reflection in the mirror, seeing the face of a lover, the face of a liar, the face of a killer…

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L.A., 1990.

Jennifer Tilly 1990

She’d be a fully accredited film noir goddess for her performance in 1996’s Bound if nothing else, though she’s played her share of other femmes fatales and bad girlz. Above is Jennifer Tilly looking languid but still dangerous in an L.A. hotel room from 1990.

Femmes Fatales ‘Round The World (Even Romania)

XaviRo 1

There’s more to Romania than Transylvania and Count Dracula. There’s Mihai Cvasnievschi at Bucharest’s XaviRo Studio, master of analog and digital portrait, commercial and art photography. There’s much to see at the xavi.ro site, but here are some striking femmes fatale (or ‘stiletto gumshoes’…you decide) images spotted there. ‘Noir’, classic noir, neo-noir, Euro-noir…whatever.  Dark and dangerous is always a lovely but lethal look.

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L.A. Noir

LA Noir Lena Gudmundsdottir - Russia

I don’t suppose you have to be sweltering in southern California to imagine the set, wardrobe and styling for a photo called “L.A. Noir”, which Lena Gudmundsdottir managed quite handily in Russia.

Heatwave In A Coldwater Flat

Nicole Kidman 1

Like film stills from a Pre-Code Depression era movie…only better. A gritty coldwater flat is artfully set to period-perfection by stylist Kari Temlplar, formidable actress Nicole Kidman is dressed down but incredibly sultry, all lensed by photographer Fabien Baron for a 2015 issue of Interview magazine for an article by Kidman’s director Lee Daniels, the two partnering on the 2012 film Paperboy.

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Back-Alley Noir In Belgium

The Confrontation

Sometimes it’s not a question of whether’s somebody’s gonna die. It’s only a question of who’ll die first. Like in this gorgeous bit of back-alley noir from Belgian photographer Gino DeFauw, called “The Confrontation”. Look for more of DeFauw’s work at 500px.

 

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