For my whitebitches | theplatinumeaters series I have been looking for close-up beauty shots to continue my appropriation techniques, but hadn't found anything that connected with the vision I had in my head. After an inspirational adventure with Deana (more about that later), I stopped by the Borders bookstore near my studio. The bargin selections are always a treat, since you tend to find large format photography books. Lo and behold, I serendipitously stumble onto An Eye For Beauty.
"From 1973 to 1998, John Derek photographed only one subject: his wife and muse, Bo. Other renowned cameramen have photographed Bo Derek, but none have captured her beauty as did the man who studied her from adolescence to maturity. Here, celebrated author-photographer and Derek family friend Robert Vavra combines words and images to create a singular book. Through conversations with Linda Evans, Ursula Andress, Elmer Bernstein, Gerry Spence, Shania Twain, and other friends of the Dereks, he reveals the fascinating story of one man’s obsession with beauty and his photographic odyssey to capture it."
At $5.99, it was an irresistible purchase, not to mention spot-on, in terms of the source material I wanted to work with. After Derek's cornrowed debut in the movie 10, this particular appropriation garnered attention from the black community critiquing her use of the hairstyle. To be honest , I always thought it looked striking on her and thought she pulled it off beautifully, but I can absolutely relate to being overtly critical of her choice. In Bo Derek, I have found that quintessential aesthetic that whitebitches attempts to reinterpret, but I've also found a back story that speaks to notions of control, youth, whiteness, marriage...
Plus as a natural California blond, her appeal is closely tied to a mythology that I wish to explore.