Guy Aroch Turns His Lens Toward a Bodily Obsession On the Streets of Manhattan for #DefineBeauty
Fashion photographer and director Guy Aroch envisions New York as a 1970s-hued dreamscape in today’s short The Magic Gap. Part of NOWNESS’ weekly #DefineBeauty series spotlighting the different aesthetic tropes surrounding body image, this week’s short takes an abstracted look at the much-documented thigh-gap obsession. Aroch wanted to “diffuse” the controversial topic, applying his romanticized, sun-kissed filter that frequently graces the pages of Harper’s Bazaar, Numéro and GQ. “It was more a comment on the mysterious fixation women have,” explains the director, “because as a male, I didn’t even know it was a thing.” Probing SoHo and Central Park passers-by on the definition of ‘the magic gap,’ Aroch cast his regularly photographed models including Chanel Iman to depict the controversial fixation that is largely based on pelvic shape and tendon length. “I was trying to be fly-on-the-wall and quite voyeuristic,” he adds. “Most people that didn’t actually know the answer—99% of them. And I didn’t tell them either.”
The next in the #DefineBeauty series Beyond the Skin premieres Tuesday June 3.
Canada Turn an Innocent Dessert into an Erotic Ideal in Part Three of #DefineBeauty
Sexual impulse is put under a retro-filtered microscope in Canada’s short, Crème Caramel. Giving the popular pudding top billing, the Barcelona director collective depict a portrait of desire for the latest in NOWNESS’ weekly series #DefineBeauty. Having shot music videos for Scissor Sisters and Phoenix, Canada’s Nicolás Méndez, Lope Serrano, Oscar Romagosa and Alba Barneda deconstructed the sensual yet somehow irreverent features of the female form. “When you are obsessed with someone, it’s not just with that someone—it’s with the shape of the hips, the color of the nipples, or the shade of her hair when she comes out of the shower,” says Serrano of their inspiration. “We were thinking of a metaphor that represents the heterosexual male view of the female body: something sweet, tender and beautiful—a crème caramel.” The directors captured the trembling dessert—which they insist is an aphrodisiac—alongside hyper-stylized visual motifs that include kaleidoscopic illustrations and 1970s records. While Serrano crafted the drawings featured in the short, a chance encounter with French band La Femme as he listened to the studio stereo resulted in the climactic soundtrack, “La Femme Ressort.” “When you’re making work based on visions of a woman’s body, you cannot lose your own desire, which is instinctively sexual,” says Serrano, who also cites Godard’s chapter for the 1969 multi-director feature Love and Anger as a reference. “But we’re not insisting on the simply erotic notion, it’s also anatomical: a wonderful succession of details.”
The next in the #DefineBeauty series The Magic Gap premieres Tuesday May 27.
France’s Lounge Lothario Shares His Damascene Moment in a Guy Aroch Film
Libidinous French musician Sébastien Tellier unveils his new spiritual self in director and fashion photographer Guy Aroch’s short. The singer waxes lyrical on God, Santa Claus and the color blue, and is seduced by his interviewer—model turned celebrated weather girl Lorraine Denis—into a sensual dreamscape. Featuring the track “Pépito Bleu” from Tellier’s latest album My God is Blue, the video is a change of pace for Israeli-born director Aroch, who has shot the likes of Vanessa Paradis and Christy Turlington and produced editorials for The New York Times, British Vogue and Marie Claire. “Sébastien is a unique thinker with a strong sense of humor, so I wanted to give him a fun platform to tell his story,” explains Aroch, who shares the musician's 70s-inspired aesthetic and voluptuous vision of femininity. Shedding the steamy skin of his previous LP Sexuality, Tellier’s fourth record sees his reinvention as a musical messiah heralding the dawn of L’Alliance Bleue. “I’d love people to say, ‘Tellier is the Dalí of music,’” offers the former Eurovision participant. “Dalí did something surreal yet pertinent, that’s why I love his work, and I hope to do that musically.” Here the eccentric visionary gets philosophical.
What is the message of My God is Blue?
What I try to do is encourage people to put dreams and imagination back into the heart of society. I want people to believe in something that doesn’t exist. God? Why not? But the Loch Ness monster, unicorns and Santa Claus also work. We should accept forces that surpass us.
How do you avoid being repetitive?
I try to renew myself constantly. Between each album, I change personality, clothes, car and apartment. I try and like films I used to hate. Once I feel I’ve entered a new cycle, that I’m truly different, I know I’m ready to create a new album. Otherwise, what is the point?
What is the biggest change with this album?
For this album, I didn’t want to look at the past or look at my childhood memories. Instead, I imagined the future. I wanted to be a soothsayer, create the pop of the future. The best way to summarize the album is that it uses strength to talk about tenderness.
I wanted to convey the vision of a tiny little human standing next to an immense, bright blue tidal wave. I wanted to remind people of the minuscule-ness of human kind.
What are your predictions about the future?
I don’t imagine a very happy future for our planet. I feel we are reaching the end of a cycle, we are entering a new cycle, and this transition could be a very difficult moment to go through.
What is the L’Alliance Bleue?
It is a movement I am creating around this album. People will soon be able to register online and take personality tests to gauge their imagination potential. They will be able to give donations, and strips of land on which we—me and the faithful—will all live together. We will create a new, better world that people will enter to live truly free lives. Surgeons will become poets; their donations will be used towards their own new lives, like a gift to themselves. For example, the money could be used for fireworks in their honor after they read their first poem.
What would you do in L’Alliance Bleue?
My dream is to become a scientist. These are the most important people in the world. What you want from life is to feel good and to live forever, and only science can bring this to us. I think the world should be solely composed of scientists—who kill illnesses and make us eternal—and artists, to entertain them.
What does freedom mean to you?
Freedom is about needing nothing, about being a sophisticated savage. It’s about listening to your desires with refinement, and to live in wilderness, only with more thought.
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