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A photo of Bill Blass December 26, 2008

Posted by samwyse in Uncategorized.
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The NYT has an article on the discontinuation of the Bill Blass collection. I’m not all that interested in the world of high couture, but I was intrigued by the black-and-white photo of Mr Blass that accompanied the article.

When I first looked at it, I had a strong sense of the face floating in front of the rest of the image, like a poorly done stereograph. Closer inspection reveals a reason, that the face is in focus but the shoulders aren’t. I wonder if the pose was perfect but badly focused, so the face from another picture was cut out and pasted on the body. Or perhaps the subject was thrusting his face forward. That seems somehow unlikely. The chair, the table, the subject’s arms are in perfect focus, but it seems impossible that the face could be in that same plane.

I must make a confession here: I tend to choose my doctors based on their ZIP code. My insurance determines their “reasonable and customary” fees based on the same criteria, so I generally owe the same amount no matter whom I see, but I hope that the more expensive doctors are better. They definitely have better bedside manners.

I mention this because I wind up spending time in waiting rooms that have, not old copies of Time or Newsweek, but magazines that cater to the upper income brackets. I’ve read ads for artists who will fly to your home and paint a portrait of you or your family; your daughters in taffeta gowns, or you on one knee in a field with shotgun and dog as ducks fly past in the background. At such times I occasionally daydream about commissioning a similar heirloom, perhaps from a student at a nearby art school. Then reality reasserts itself, and I realize that any such portrait would wind up gathering dust in a storeroom until it is inevitably sold in a garage sale or, more likely, consigned to the trash.

The photo of Bill Blass, however, inspires me again. I don’t even need a studio, just my face, properly lit and photoshopped onto a perfect pose.

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