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May 20, 2010

Take That, Kneester-Hipsock American Apparel Formula!

<span style="font-size: x-small;">Holly Norris/Jes Sachse
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Holly Norris/Jes Sachse

Photographers Holly Norris and Jes Sachse have collaborated to create ‘American Able’, a searing satire of fashion photography and brand management.

Using the white backdrop, helvetica captioned kneester-hipsock formula of American Apparel ads, Norris and Sachse replaced the “highly sexualized and generally thin [models], and who appear to be able-bodied” with Sachse herself. Sachse is differently-abled.

The seriousness of the message is only matched by the sheer enjoyment Sachse has in front of the camera. And why wouldn’t she be having fun as she plays actor, advocate, comedian and social commentator?

Norris and Sachse point out that people with disabilities are usually cast as “asexual” and we routinely fail to examine the pervasive influence of imagery in mass media. The ease with which Norris and Sachse strip away the facade of fashion photography is alarming. If the use of the same playful and suggestive captions put alongside images of a woman – who is not the commonly seen shape – jolt us, could it be we harbor only expectations for the blandly-repeated female form?

American Able Gallery
American Able Slideshow

This work is part of Contacting Toronto, a group exhibit for CONTACT 2010 and will be showing on over 270 digital screens in 50 Toronto Transit Commission stations on May 6, 11, 22 and 31. Jes Sachse’s “The Justice League of Gawkamerica” is showing at The Junction in Toronto as part of CONTACT 2010.

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