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This book of photographs is stylish
but extremely perplexing. Most of them
were taken between 1988 ad 2000, but they exhibit a sensibility of a different
era. Jasmin is quoted as saying I
still dream in the 1950s and its true that few of these pictures show signs
of modern life. Jasmin is a
photographer for fashion and glamour magazines such as W, Interview,
House and Garden, German Marie Claire and LUomo Vogue. Most of these pictures were taken in
California, mostly Hollywood. Quite a
few of Jasmins portraits are of famous people; all of them are beautiful
people. There are nudes, more male than
female, and there are plenty of people lying around doing very little apart
from exuding their beauty. These photos
look like the kind of images you see in glossy foreign magazines, nostalgic for
an earlier dignity, making you wish you could be a part of this beautiful life,
subconsciously convincing you to buy the product whose logo appears in the picture. Except that here is there is no logo, and
you are left wondering what these pictures are selling.
pictures are enormously seductive, and theres great skill in their composition
and production. They are funny and
charming, charismatic and beautiful.
But I have to say that they bring out the puritan in me; I view this
portrayal of young sensuous people with suspicion and I find there is something
even repulsive in Jasmins nostalgic hedonism.
Hes selling an illusion, and for all the attraction of that illusion,
its one that ultimately robs us of ability to be happy with our
imperfections. Its not the kind of
dream to inspire people to improve their own lives; rather it tempts them to
waste their money and search for the end of the rainbow. Jasmin may even be a genius in his ability
to capture this American dream, but if so, then I fear he is of the evil
© 2002 Christian Perring. First Serial Rights.
Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College,
Long Island. He is editor of Metapsychology Online Review.
His main research is on philosophical issues in psychiatry.
He is especially interested in exploring how philosophers can
play a greater role in public life, and he is keen to help foster
communication between philosophers, mental health professionals,
and the general public.
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