Sunday, November 6, 2016

Brooke Shields: The Photo That Changed Her Life?

Lisanne Falk and Brooke Shields, 1978 
(Vanity Fair, December 2016)

Brooke Shields wrote in the December 2016 issue of Vanity Fair

“My friend Lisanne Falk and I—both 13 years old and Ford models at the time—were close friends with Betsy Cameron, another model, who happened to be an aspiring photographer and who was like a big sister to us. One day, Betsy asked us to visit her home in Southport, Connecticut, and take a series of fun photos for a possible book about friendship. We got to play dress-up in vintage costumes and crimp our hair and wear makeup, and we were thrilled to create fantasy worlds for Betsy to photograph. This particular picture was the last of the day. We wore red lipstick and felt so grown up. The book never came to pass, but this photo was chosen to run in the first issue of Life magazine when it was revived as a monthly, in 1978. I couldn’t believe I was in Life! This image elevated us into a different category: we were no longer just catalogue models but had transitioned into a more credible and artistic realm. It was also controversial at the time for girls to project womanly poses, but that’s what girls did when dressing up. And, looking back, this is the photo that sort of put us on the map.”

Brooke's piece is a bit misleading. For example, she had already been "elevated" from being considered "just [a] catalogue" model when she appeared nude at the age of twelve and had her virginity sold for $400 in her role as a nymphet prostitute in Pretty Baby (1978). 

And when Brooke was ten, she posed nude for Gary Gross. Playboy Press paid Brook’s mother $450 for the photograph that appeared in 1983 at Richard Prince's “semi-anonymous gallery” on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and in his 2007 Spiritual America exhibit at the prestigious Guggenheim Museum. 

Clearly, this isn't "the photo that changed" her life or put Brooke "on the map"; however, the people at Life knew exactly what they were doing when they put two nymphets posing seductively in bikinis in the 1978 re-launch issue of the magazine.



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