Saturday, May 30, 2015

Desire & Disgust (redux, 2015): #14

As this is the last blog post regarding the SVA student’s from the 2015 Desire & Disgust class, we felt it appropriate to finish with something a little different …

Elizabeth Policello decided that she wanted to use ishotkatemoss as her final project for the semester. As a result, here you will find all seven of her images, which formed her completed class submission.

Elizabeth indicated that she was inspired by the ishotkatemoss assignment to use found images in abstract forms. “This is a medium I’ve never really explored and never thought I’d have an interest in, but the process was fun and very new to me.
While looking for source images to use, she felt that kate was “bland and ordinary” yet became fixated on “how creepy her eyes were”. She experimented by printing several black and white images on computer paper, and made horizontal cuts across the images, then layering the strips on top of whole images of kate's face. She then scanned the resulting collage into photoshop and inverted the image.

For the final body of work, Elizabeth took it a step further by using kate's eyes, hands, mouth and other body parts, all from gossip magazines.
She chose to single out and manipulate these body parts given her perception that the press focuses our attention in a specific way in order to uphold certain standards of a perceived idea of "beauty and status".

Elizabeth creates a dialogue about the focus on public figures, particularly the shaming of those that make little effort with make-up or are viewed as applying it badly, all the while contrasting such commentary with the bombardment of product advertising. 

In addition to beauty products, it was fascinating to learn of Elizabeth’s ideas and insertion of the notions of materialism. Celebrity’s hands are often seen holding status objects, such as smartphones, handbags and jewelry. Often the magazines literally zoom in on these items such that the snippets of an arm are shown with aspirational adornments. The parts of the individual cease to be their own. Taken hold of by the public eye, they are fragmented and “torn apart”.

The components have been further reduced and altered by Elizabeth to where they are no longer part of the whole. 
They are their own object, alienated from it’s host, and layered together to create a new body, thus making it a still life”.

Reflecting on the consumption cycle and the idolization of beauty, wealth and the power of celebrity status in society, Elizabeth’s work presents a resounding commentary, and an appropriate final reflection from a young artist’s perspective.

If you are interested in following Elizabeth’s photographic journey, you can do so on instagram @paulipoe.
A final 'thank you' to all in the class, Keren Moscovitch and the School of Visual Arts. 
And just like all of the incredible SVA students ... Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Desire & Disgust (redux, 2015): #13

Cassandra Srager’s work is mysterious, referencing mythology and the physical form … she manipulated kate by pouring chemicals onto a print and scarring her
For more of the mystical and morphed visit

Just like the SVA students ... Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Desire & Disgust (redux, 2015): #12

Photographer Lauren Quiroga follows a distinct path, through her Still Life and Roads projects, that is both colorful and calming.

So, as she approached kate, someone who she had little affinity for, she decided that she wanted to work around her, by collaging pieces of pictures that were on the periphery of well known images of kate.

As she developed this premise, she felt that instead of working around a notion of what kate represents, actually the interest lay in the minutiae of the idea. So she delved as deeply as she could into a portion of a portion of a portion of kate's face and found that kate's devil is, in fact, in the detail …

More of Lauren’s images can be found at

Just like the SVA students ... Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Desire & Disgust (redux, 2015): #11

Jaclyn Alexandra’s thoughts regarding ishotkatemoss were directly influenced by a discussion in the SVA class of kate being one of the most reproduced figures in the world. This led to the use of the scanner as a mode of reproduction and manipulation.
She indicated that working on the ishotkatemoss project was a respite from her typical documentary and portrait photography as she began toying with themes that she usually would not investigate, including focusing on gender roles and the male gaze of the female body. 

I was influenced by the idea of the ‘feminine grotesque’ and the notion that the female body and its functions can be considered both beautiful and grotesque (at the same time). I worked to create these monstrous images of Kate Moss in a way to process such an idea.

You can see Jaclyn's portraiture, photojournalism, and editorial photography at

Just like the SVA students ...  
Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Desire & Disgust (redux, 2015): #10

Dana Davenport is a New York City based artist studying at the School of Visual Arts. Using video and photography, her work both questions and analyzes identity and sexuality. Dana also looks at the role that the female form plays in society, within various cultural contexts. She comes to such work through a fearless and courageous assessment of herself through her art, giving her the ability to begin appraising ‘Black Kate’, one of the most difficult images that an artist could take on in the course of the ishotkatemoss project …

Black Kate by Nick Knight - which sold for approx. $85,000 in the Christie’s auction of Sep. 2013, that prompted and ushered into existence - was used on the front page of The Independent's special (RED) issue in 2006, guest designed by Giorgio Armani.

Nick Knight's Black Kate
Knight transformed Kate Moss's skin from white to black for the newspaper’s edition attempting to highlight issues that African women face; such broad ranging topics - including poverty, lack of education, health issues etc. This image of kate, as other news outlets stated “blacked up" or “going African”, adorned the cover as well as being included as a free poster.

Knight is responsible for dozens of global advertising campaigns and fashion editorials. He is known for the fact that the post-production of his images is often as important as the creation of the original photograph. "There is a photographic element that most, although not all, of my work goes through. Manipulation is a slightly charged word, though, because it implies deceit. A skilled photographer totally manipulates the reality they have around them. I believe our perception of reality is shaped almost entirely around our fears and our emotional response to what is about to happen," he says.

Following on from Dana’s video, ‘Nappy Hair’, she continued her investigation into the idea behind cultural appropriation and decided to continue the manipulation of kate into even more stereotypical ideas of the “African woman”:
Dana Davenport's Black Kate

She then printed her image and placed it in a salon to observe people’s reactions ...
... if they were in fact reacting at all …
Given people bought the 2006 newspaper due to an attraction to kate, and not necessarily as they were engaging with the underlying issues, such a lack of reaction in Dana's work seems to be appropriate.

So rather than just continuing this trend of indifference, considering that May 25th is World Africa Day celebrating the 1963 establishment of the African Union, and that 2015 is the Union's 'Year of Women’s Empowerment', we honor Dana’s work (more of which can be seen at Furthermore, rather than spending your hard earned $s on fashion items this week, or any other for that matter, consider making a donation to some important charities, such as The Global Fund for Women, Give a Heart to Africa and Africa’s Out, all of whom actually address some of the challenges The Independent was initially attempting to highlight, without using kate as a poster child. …

Just like the SVA students ... Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Desire & Disgust (redux, 2015): #9

Photographer Michelle Dunkley looks towards ideas of ritual, sacrifice, loss and insecurity. She does so with imagery that is both deeply moving, as if in a dream state, and considerate of her surrounds.

Michelle viewed the ishotkatemoss project within these contexts by layering an image of kate, in her youth with eyes closed, with stills from horror films … she then utilized an alternate picture of kate through a peep hole in order to bring her vision onto us, as a de facto Eye of Providence.
The occult? Illuminati? Kate as all seeing? Culture jamming?
We should all be drawn to Michelle’s layered perspectives at

Just like the SVA students ... Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Desire & Disgust (redux, 2015): #8

From the deconstructed to the demolished, Alec Charlip’s video work titled 'Kate Moss X Demolition' (of which you can see some video stills below) leaves kate – and the rest of us - in the dust, ushering in the new.
Alec's art is an ongoing exploration of society’s representations, best illustrated by his powerful tumblr feed:

Just like the SVA students ... Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Desire & Disgust (redux, 2015): #7

Brooklyn based photographer, Emily Arny Long, wanted to investigate the romantic portrayal, yet "uselessness", of the celebrity.
Her ongoing work is a meditation on, and a realization of, the beauty of decay and of impermanence - often through the use of plants and tactile objects. She uses photography to deconstruct space and scale and also creates sculptural objects including assembling remarkable books.
So, she constructed and photographed her kate with surrounds – using a limbless barbie doll, flora and pieces of photographs amongst other artifacts - to look beyond just the frame and snippet we are given. All under the spotlight, with a guiding hand ...

For more of Emily’s creations, visit

Just like the SVA students ... Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Desire & Disgust (redux, 2015): #6

Derek Stearns is a fascinating photographic artist with an inclination that "many things are real beyond what we can perceive with our ordinary senses".  

This notion of questioning perception naturally led Derek to the query: “How much information would you need to identify Kate?”
Look at Derek’s beings, figments and phantasm’s at

Just like the SVA students ... Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Desire & Disgust (redux, 2015): #5

SVA student, Alon Borten’s immersive photographic and performance based work deals with issues of identity and sexuality.

I was really interested in kate moss as this fashion icon, someone who is constantly being altered and their physical appearance scrutinized to fit into society's ideas of perfection and beauty.

Alon wanted to mirror kate’s process, and perform as she does, while also looking towards the physical transformation of the self.
I began to understand that performing in a more sexual manner than I'm used to made me uncomfortable. It was physically difficult positioning myself in ways that mimicked her own.

Look at to immerse yourself further in Alon’s imagery and performance reality.

Just like the SVA students ... Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Desire & Disgust (redux, 2015): #4

Kaitlyn Nissen’s work inherently questions notions of societal expectation. Her still life constructions, self-portraiture and video work all look toward our perception, and ask us to step back from preconceived notions, of beauty.

Turning her attention to kate, given her inherent dislike of what she stands for, Kaitlyn wanted to destroy and defile "the idea of kate".
The beauty of flowers, torn apart, with “nails in her coffin” all come together subtlety in Kaitlyn's work titled 'Funerary'.

Kaitlyn’s explorations can be seen at

Just like the SVA students ... Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Desire & Disgust (redux, 2015): #3

Visual artist Jessica Pettway has a remarkable sense of color and texture, often used in the abstract, which permeates her work. As Jessica stated: "Abstraction is the purest form".

When she turned her attention towards the abstract kate, the fact that all commercial images of Kate involved either smoking or her mouth being open led her towards the idea of obsessive fixations. 

Upon investigating the idea of her mouth and the ever present cigarette, Jessica found reports of four smoking breaks per hour built into each of Kate's contracts ... As such, Jessica decide to magnify kate's mouth and gesture as they exist in the media space. She stated, "By focusing on the little bits, pieces and parts, often I can show more."

More of Jessica's striking, uncanny and vibrant pieces can be found at

Just like the SVA students ... Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Desire & Disgust (redux, 2015): #2

Ken Lavey is a lens based artist and freelance photographer/technician based in New York City. He was once asked by a professor: "How does your work fit within the swirl of imagery?"
Ken's piece: 'Cyclical'

Inspired by experimentation in the studio and the lab, Ken explores 'the infinite number of impressions' through a wide variety of subjects, now including kate. He rolled a picture of kate, rotated the image to create the moving and distorting effect in order to recognize kate as 'a way of seeing'. 

Ken's impressions can be seen at

Just like the SVA students ... Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Desire & Disgust: redux 2015

Following on from the success of last year's class, a few weeks ago iskm founder, Zev Jonas, was asked to return to the Still-Life: Objects of Desire and Disgust undergraduate class at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York. The class was made up of thirteen students, representing diverse styles and approaches to their art making.
Work in progress ...

You may recall that the class is taught by Keren Moscovitch - of Photographer Series #3 fame - with the course work breaking down the genre of still life into multiple sub-genres like 'Death and the Grotesque', 'Commerce, Consumption and Wealth' and 'Portraiture, Landscape and the Body'. This was done in order to explore the entire classification of 'Still Life' art while starting to evaluate work from the perspective of its qualities and how it functions.
SVA student, Ken Lavey, with Zev observing

As part of the final project each student was asked to create images for This year, Zev was asked to join in an initial conversation with the students and assist in the formation of their ideas. The discussions in class as to the role of still life, the project and kate specifically were active, informed and insightful.

Then, towards the end of April, each student's work was presented to the group and critiqued. To do honor to the students and their work, it was felt that each participant deserved their imagery to be highlighted. So over the coming weeks, in addition to each student's work being added to the iskm collage, they will have their submitted images featured with some additional information about where you can learn more as to what they are creating outside of the classroom.
So for your viewing pleasure over the coming weeks, keep an eye on the blog as we feature each student's work. And just like these wonderful artists from SVA ...

Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Who wore it better?

While we really do our best to ignore Kate Moss and the “news” about her, the irony of her happenings last week is not lost on ishotkatemoss …

In a week in which we explored Heide Hatry’s use of meat in constructing and deconstructing art and our world, Kate seems to have decided, possibly in response to our blog, to pull a different favorite fur coat out each day to be feasted on by the paparazzi and the easily influenced public …
For example, according to: the Daily Mail, on May 2nd:  
Kate Moss covers up her lean and slender frame in statement fur coat and stripy skintight pants as she steps out for late evening stroll
(Kate) proved she's just like every other girl when she stepped out in North London wearing her favourite coat once again on Friday evening. The 41-year-old looked every inch the glamorous fashion icon in an off-white fur coat, complete with bright red and tanned coloured streaks"; and
Then the following day (May 3rd) the Mirror noted that: 
Kate Moss proves she's ALWAYS a stylish goddess as she dresses up to local pub in fur coat  
The supermodel was looking all supermodel-like as she was snapped at a pub in the Cotswolds today, wrapping up against the chilly air in a VERY statement fur coat. Wearing huge sunglasses and tight black jeans, the star stood out a mile off. Looking like she'd just stumbled out of LA, the star wore her hair loose and hid beneath the coat as she walked past cameras.

 … All on the heels of Kate recently hitting a Paris menswear show in an  extravagant” designer fur coat.

So, iskm is guessing that the industry is telling us fur is back “in”? Let’s hope not and if they are, please ‘fashionistas’ just ignore them.

We did find a feel good moment scanning the Daily Mail article: “Kate is reportedly planning to sell actual JAM at this year's Worthy Farm event … A source said: "Kate has been making damson, blackberry and gooseberry jam for some years to give away to friends." … it's not intended as a money-earner for Kate herself. The insider added: "She has always had aspirations of one day being a lady and has told friends that she would like to donate proceeds to a charity. "She will make it the beginning of charitable works that can contribute towards her good name."

Firstly, iskm is in awe of the insider ‘friend’ who stated that Kate “… has always had aspirations of one day being a lady”!
Secondly, her ‘good name’? A PR stunt that we are calling out as celebrity hypocrisy! Who wants to send positive messages to people when it is convenient? Couldn’t be Kate could it?

Need an example, particularly in anticipation of needing to deflect the criticism that has been leveled at Kate’s obsession with fur in the past? You see, it was only a few years ago (Feb, 2010) that PETA reported that: Kate Moss Makes Her Mondays Meat-Free: "Kate’s taken her friend Stella McCartney’s advice and decided to give Meat-Free Mondays a chance".

This clearly didn’t last terribly long or maybe we hazard a guess that Kate simply misunderstood and decided to not wear fur coats, or look at Heide Hatry’s art on Mondays!

We make fun of a great deal of things on this blog, and we often don’t take ourselves (or anyone else) terribly seriously. That being said, at what point in time do we actually have the common decency to say that we aren’t going to participate in this fashion charade, one that causes so much damage and harm to living, breathing and feeling creatures?

STOP WEARING FUR … starting with you Kate Moss, as unfortunately people watch you, believe in what you stand for and follow what you do.
Please paparazzi, don't Shoot
For the rest of us: let's not Observe. Slow Down, stop and think. Do not Submit.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Photographer Series #17: heideshotkatemoss

New York-based, German artist Heide Hatry is best known for her body-related performances and her work employing animal flesh and organs. Hatry grew up on a pig farm in the south of Germany and studied art, and art history in Germany. Since moving to NY in 2003 she has curated numerous exhibitions, shown her own work extensively and has edited more than two dozen books and art catalogues. She also has three books of her own work, published between 2005 and 2013, including the remarkable SKIN.

From SKIN: Heide Hatry (self portrait as) Hermine Roth, 2005
Hatry stated, “I discovered that I responded intensely to the feel, smell, and the deeply corporal overall sensation pigskin engenders. I find its effect … uniquely ‘human’.

In addition to being the documentation of years of work with a highly eccentric art material, SKIN is a complex and thoroughly-conceived conceptual project in which Hatry plays on the fact that skin is the medium through which individual identity is most commonly received. The seven female artists highlighted in the book, each of whom use skin and meat as a medium, are in fact seven facets of Hatry herself. Art historians, critics and curators participated, maintaining the conceit and writing about each subject as unique, living artists. Hatry created a portrait for each of her individual ‘selves’ and one character, Betty Hirst, has herself become a recognizable contemporary feminist icon.

Hatry's Violette, 2008
(pig skin, meat, pig eyes, wig & shirt)

iskm: Your work is incredibly visceral. Does meat repulse you?
Heide Hatry (HH): Meat didn't repulse me when I first started to work with it, after all I was supposed to become a butcher on my father’s farm if he had any say in it, but it repulses me more and more. The first time I felt disgusted by meat was at Gunther von Hagens's first Bodyworld exhibition in Mannheim, Germany … I saw a person whose arm had been cut off and the cross-section looked like a piece of beef. I immediately felt sick and realized that we are no different than carnivorous animals, who, though they don't eat their own species, will eat any other ... I have had similar experiences, and since then I have been a vegetarian.

Hatry's Betty Hirst:
Meat Head, 2008 (raw meat)
iskm: Is your goal to create such a reaction in the viewer?
HH: My goal is to produce work that jumps from the wall and makes its viewer feel something intense. I want to reveal that we are surrounded by flesh in our ordinary environment. Many products are made out of dead animal skin but it is disguised and the process by which it has come to be what it is is deeply hidden. 
My work with a material that looks like human skin often disturbs and evokes strong emotions. That being said, I don't have a didactic goal per se: I'm really more interested in producing an awareness rather than suggesting how that awareness should be used. My interest in skin and meat as material is so intense because in it I see expressed concretely the subjects that are important to me: life, pleasure, sex, pain, injury, aging, death and any number of more abstract matters, like identity, gender, power relations, vulnerability, and the whole sphere of perception itself.

iskm: Does kate represent any of these subjects for you?
Steven Klein's image for W Magazine, Spring 2012
HH: I never really paid much attention to models as a general matter, and whatever function they are made to serve, they always rather strike me as materials of other people’s ‘creative’ efforts than as voices in their own right. Of course, as an artist, I can appreciate great material too, and I’m quite sure that there are things in which she has been involved that have taken shape because of what she specifically brings to the advertising milieu.

iskm: Why did you choose to utilize the specific source kate moss image that you did? 
HH: I like the visualized double standard in the image of Kate as a nun … I was raised in a very Christian way and am intimately familiar with the typical contradictions that pervade religious cultures. The source image is also connected to my Betty Hirst self-portrait in that women are often perceived as something akin to meat.
From SKIN: Hatry as Betty Hirst, 2005

iskm: Can you contextualize Betty?
HH: Betty is the alter ego American artist to whom I gave the role of being at once more straightforward, innocent in a way, and at the same time radical or harsh in her implicit critique of female objectification. The two - innocence and harshness - are obviously not incompatible, and there is something about the American character in general, as we perceive it abroad, that is captured in my decision and her representation … In the context of the project in which she emerged, it was her persona whose role it was to photograph raw meat and skin in a way that it suggested something else ... Her character just made this way of self-presentation seem appropriate.

iskm: Has anyone indicated that they felt the image was pornographic?
HH: Betty Hirst’s portrait is obviously not a pornographic image. All one sees is a piece of beef that you could just as well see at a grocery store, but the US Post Office nevertheless refused to permit it to be mailed as a post-card.

iskm: What did you do to your chosen kate image and why?
HH: I photoshopped the image of Betty’s hand holding a piece of meat shaped like a vagina into the image. Why? The typical raiment of a nun symbolizes chastity, or virginity. That they put Kate Moss in a latex nun’s habit emphasizes that beneath the habit is a woman; a normal woman with a normal body that is being denied. The fetish clothing at once reminds the viewer that virginity is a fetish object as well and that it is, consequently, a denial of nature in favor of some human (conceptual) objective … The fetish garb deflects the sexual urge toward something unnatural, again, something second-order, outside of the realm of nature, while it emphasizes the visual sexualization of the female shape. The dialectic of thwarted female sexuality is fully in play, but it never quite allows the ‘victim’ of adventitious desires to have her own. By inserting the physical in the form of meat, I try to do that, while simultaneously reminding the viewer of what these ‘protected’ or ‘hors combat’ women mean as symbols, and that the fear of female sexuality is often the sign of men’s fear of their own appetites.
Heide Hatry: Kate Moss, 2015 (photocollage)
iskm: Fetish as cultural signal?
HH: Fetishism is investing the power in something that isn’t the thing itself, submerging it, in effect, beneath surface, appearance, secondary considerations; and those secondary considerations are the interests of the viewer/subject, imposed on the object. The reality becomes, his reality instead of what it might become of its own accord. Like the latex nun, Kate Moss is a cultural sign, both invested with a certain kind of power, but a power limited by the role she has been assigned to play in a patriarchal game. Contrary to my notion of the second-order de-sexualization of the nun, collaging the meat vagina over Kate Moss reminds the viewer that she is a woman, and hence a victim, in spite of the fact that she appears to have a dominating role in the advertising scenario (and in her professional life).  

iskm: Was it important that it was your hand in the image?
HH: I like what the question implies, but that wasn’t actually an issue in my thinking. I wanted to make sure that it is immediately obvious that it is a collage, and I had first photoshopped her own hand to alter the image, but that somehow didn't work: there wasn’t enough contrast between the elements to make it clear that they were disparate and not continuous. Once I decided to include my hand, I did like the fact that the source of the collage element was clear, but I didn’t feel like it suggested a conceptual (or other sort of) interaction between me and Kate Moss, or the image of Kate Moss.
Hatry's Paula Ebanista:
Ophelia, 2008 (untreated pigskin)

iskm: You have stated that SKIN addressed questions of: “identity, gender roles, the nature of aesthetic experience and the meaning of beauty, the effects of knowledge upon perception, the human exploitation of the natural world, and the social oblivion that permits atrocity to persist in our midst.” How do you see, conceptually, the link between your kate moss collage and your work in SKIN?
HH: SKIN is a template for me that can be used to discuss or address a broad range of gendered topics and philosophical issues. In a way, appropriating from SKIN is a way of grafting them into contexts in which they might not immediately feel as much at home, even in which they are genuinely foreign elements. My interest in making the Kate Moss collage was related to my sense that I was entering a different world from the one in which my work usually operates, more than, say, “tagging” a culturally specific and self-contained surface that generally rebuffs the conceptual.

iskm: Which photographers/artists would you most want to most see involved in ishotkatemoss? Why?
HH: I’d be very interested in seeing what Valerie Solanas would do with the assignment, or of course Carolee Schneemann, who for me is the first true artist of female experience. They would both have extraordinary feminist perspectives on the scenario, though obviously quite different ones ... I’d also love to see what Teresa Margolles, Tania Brugera, or Pinar Yolacan would do. Whereas I found the project interesting because I saw a way to show that Kate Moss is also a human being and a woman, I suspect that some or all of these other artists would take the opportunity to make a more political statement about the mis-appropriation of the female body to propagate deleterious perceptions and beliefs. And I’m sure they’d do it brilliantly.

You can see more of Heide’s work at and she has an upcoming solo exhibition at Galerie Camille in Detroit from May 8 - June 6 which also will include a panel discussion. Don’t miss seeing and hearing this important and fascinating artist.

Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit