The genius of Hedi Slimane

When I write, I avoid pictures. I have very specific ideas of how things are supposed to look, people, places, and I don’t want a picture to match the image. Because over time, what I write becomes an image, and by taking inspiration from one, it’s no longer mine.

I make an exception for Hedi Slimane.

Hedi Slimane is the whacked out genius at Yves Saint Laurent (formerly of Christian Dior), a designer who took an extended break from the world of fashion and stepped behind the camera. His subjects range from the landscape of California to heroin chic hipster kids in bands. They’re always black and white, and the composition of them, the interplay of light and shadows, is stunning and reminds me why I love photography. The honesty in his pictures never fails to evoke an emotion.

I have this picture of Dustin Hoffman set as my desktop background at work. I have no idea why; maybe it’s because he looks so much like a crime boss in this picture, a man you do not want to fuck with because death will not be painless if he were to inflict it. He’s not an imposing man, but he dominates with such a quiet ferocity.

And I find myself wanting to create stories around his pictures. Why are they all so melancholy?

Something about this kid screams “Freedom!” and yet I get the sense he’s trapped. His eyes are closed, he’s pounding away with abandon, but there’s no joy on his face.

I want to use this as the cover for A Lesson in Vanishing. Her face is almost completely obscured, which makes it perfect. You think if she sits there much longer, the shadows will consume her, and she’ll cease to exist as she is, becoming something else.

Slimane’s images are designed, I think, to provoke. Provoke what, I’m not sure. Discussion? Awe? Disgust?

I’m going with awe.

3 thoughts on “The genius of Hedi Slimane

    1. In a good way? A bad way? There was another shot from that series, where all you could see were her eyes and a microphone…I liked that one better, but the mic would have been out of place.

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