Pierre et Gilles | #FotoFriday
In 1976, two men met at a fashion party in Paris, fell in love, and began making beautiful art together... forever. Pierre Commoy is the photographer. Gilles Blanchard is the painter. Together, as a team and couple, they conceptualize large-scale images that are commentary on youth, celebrity, ethnicity, and sexuality of all kinds.
One day back in art school (of course!), my digital media teacher showed the class a short documentary produced in the 90's about Pierre et Gilles and their friends, their life, and how they work. When a concept is fully developed and the sets are built and decorated, Pierre captures and develops the photograph, and then Gilles uses painting techniques to hide imperfections, blend and smooth the skin, and give the photo a "sheen" of glory and aspiration. This technique is hardly unique - it's the way photographers and retouchers did photos "in post" before the advent of Photoshop. What is unique, however, is the subject matter that they take on, the fact that they take it on together, and the fact that to this day, they still produce work in this way.
Do yourself a favor - do a Google Image search on "Pierre et Gilles" and just bask in the wonder, glory, sexuality, celebrity, and ethnicity. Think critically about the imagery they produce, and what it may be saying about French politics as you keep in mind what year the photograph was produced. Their work is my favorite next to Gregory Crewdson's.