Rise of the celebrity self-portrait: The lockdown trend that will end up being a norm

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The Covid-19 pandemic has swept all over world, impacting almost every, if not all industries. We have all had to come up with new ways to continue doing our jobs, that is if we are lucky enough to still have jobs.
I wondered how the publishing industry, especially glossy fashion publications who rely heavily on glamorous photoshoots, was going to do about this. Since no photo shoots can happen – what would their solution be? Fill up the pages with wire or archival images? Or will they go the New Yorker route and do graphics?
 
Not so. They have actually made a plan that has shown just how the wheels will always keep rolling for the media.
 
Naomi Campbell took her own images for Essence magazine’s 50th anniversary issue. She used her iPhone to take the images for her spread and also the cover. All this from her New York apartment. 
 
For her Jacquemus 2020 campaign, snapped by photographer Pierre-Ange via Facetime. She is naked with a tan handbag from the brand, protecting her modesty. 
Eva Longoria recorded her video commercial for L’Oreal at home, using the selfie mode of her cellphone.
 
GQ Middle East’s new cover, which features Lebanese director, Pam Nasr, was shot by Prod Antzoulis via Zoom. 
 
And then on Tuesday, US GQ released their latest issue, with Robert Pattinson on the cover. All the images of the cover story were shot by Pattinson himself. 
I am certain that there will be more magazine releasing issues with photographs taken either via a video conferencing service, self-portaits or even, like Gigi Hadid’s Italian Vogue editorial and Drew Barrymore Sunday Times feature, ask someone you are isolating with, to take the picture for you. Gigi asked a friend, while Drew asked her daughter (7).
 
Most print publications are being produced remotely. Working from home has become a new reality for most of us in the print publication industry and looking at how things are going, it will remain so. 
 
US GQ editor, Will Welch shared with the Business of Fashion about their process in producing the issue, which was mostly produced remotely. Welch says  he green-lit some “calculated risks,” like letting cover star Robert Pattinson photograph himself and commissioning drawings from fashion designers. 
 
They also set up Zoom calls with comedians, Megan Stalter and Catherine Cohen and got this idea of sending them both Polaroid cameras and Polaroid film for them to take their own pictures. 
 
A few years ago we decried the ‘selfie generation’ and found that people taking selfies were ‘vapid’ and ‘conceited’. How times have changed. 
 
It might not work for everybody but it sure is a great to to not only decrease production costs for magazines, but also allow stars to find a talent they didn’t know they had. Of course having the right clothes, location and lighting will help your pictures look amazing, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. 
 
There will probably be photographers who will direct fashion editorials remotely, and showing models and celebrities how to set their cameras and phones, the angles they use to take images and how to properly use the self-timer to take great images. 
 
I’m mostly looking forward to how the fashion, beauty and lifestyle industries will change, especially when it comes to print magazine production. Content wise, I think we are headed to some interesting times. 

By Buhle Mbonambi

Credit: www.iol.co.za

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