Folks are up in arms because they think it’s too sexy. I hadn’t seen it until late last night, and I have to say I find it jarring.
Not because the picture makes her look sexy. I’m used to seeing Miley Cyrus look sexy. Don’t know what I mean? Google “Hannah Montana” and you’ll be greeted with thousands of pictures of her in full makeup, sparkly tops, spandex pants and her hips thrust out.
We’ve all seen so much sexy that we’re mostly immune to the Baby Hooker look that Cyrus sports on a regular basis.
The Leibowitz Picture, however, presents an entirely different image. It makes Cyrus look like what she is. Not a hooker grabbing a mid-stroll coffee at Chock Full O Nuts (which is how most of the HM costuming comes across) but like a little girl who is just waking up. You can clearly see, in the much ballyhooed photo, the baby fat in her cheeks, the clean-scrubbed look in her face and an innocence in her eyes. She looks like a fifteen year old child. [In case you were wondering, that’s also why the pictures aren’t posted here. I have a personal policy against posting sexualised photographs of children. So neither type of picture is here.]
Is it art, to expose the child behind the Baby Hooker? I think on some level it probably is. The Leibowitz picture, as all true art, says something deeper about the subject and the zeitgeist. Is it in the right context? I think probably not. It might have been better released in a photographic retrospective or a coffee-table book. Releasing it in the current context of mass media (i.e. Vanity Fair) means whatever art exists is muddied by the streets of commerce and loses its artistic merit.