Sleek #26 Summer 2010 flora|fauna
We had actually feared that the flora-fauna ratio in this issue would be leaning heavily towards the latter, simply because people seem to find plants so much less interesting than animals – and we are no exception. After all, plants don’t make strange noises like animals, they show less funny facial expressions, and while in most cases it is easier to pet them, touching a flower doesn’t feel as good as stroking a pet, especially since flowers don’t possess eyes to throw those heartbreaking glances.
But our fears ultimately proved needless: strangely enough, the fashion photographers we asked for contributions to this issue all wanted to “do something with flowers.”
Sure, plants are easier to catch and, due to their smaller range of motion, they are easier to photograph than animals. However, character-wise they just don’t offer as much to the camera as, say, our cover model, alpaca Atahualpa (did you know that all alpacas are named after Inca gods?), who, despite never having received any camera training, offered a new pose and facial expression each time the flash went off. Plus, the animal-fashion relationship is full of tension (we are not talking Cavalli leopard print latex leggings here). Has it ever occurred to you, for example, that horns and antlers – archaic symbols of sexual potency – started sprouting on runways all over the world at the same time that the Vatican began showing signs of, um, impotence? Still, fashion photographers seem to prefer plants to animals, maybe because flowers evoke a more sensual and sophisticated feeling in conjunction with high fashion.
Art, on the other side, generally regards bush and beast with an equal share of interest. Nature to art is a rival that artists have been competing with for a long time, starting with the first cave-paintings of hunting scenes dating back about 32,000 years. Paradoxically, artists can overpower nature only by not coming too close. This is why we decided against a feature on taxidermy animals in art, even though a lot of artists create works using dead animals. But presenting these kind of works to you would have been cruelty to humans and visual pollution.