Elizabeth Taylor - Swell necking.

There's a thing in commercial art (not just art for advertising, but almost any art you get paid for) where the work of any artist is scrutinized more harshly than a photograph would be in the same situation. Yes, photographer's contact sheets are pored over with insane criticism, but when people know it's rendered, the threshold of "realistic" is much higher than reality itself. My old boss used to say "It doesn't have to be right. It has to look right." Case in point: Liz Taylor's neck.

This is a photograph of Elizabeth Taylor, and she's tilting her head to one side to look winsome or wistful or something with a "W". If this were a painting, the artist would be well advised to present the composition in sketch form first, because people would assume the neck angle is a mistake or an error in judgment. "He neck must be broken. Was she in a car accident?" But here's Liz, right as rain, tilting her head like crazy.

The P.A.G. Nomenclature Squadron has yet to devise a name for this "Tendency for Art to be Judged More Harshly than Photographs" (TAGMHP) thing, but the reasons it happens are not a mystery. People don't tend to question photographs because we still assume they're real. The Photoshop factor has eroded this a bit, but people don't tend to assume you sabotaged your own photograph in Photoshop to make a woman's neck look broken. They will happily assume you drew your sketch poorly, overshooting "winsome" and barreling straight into "crippled". This will happen even if you sketched the model in a perfectly plausible pose, if a bit of an awkward one.

The Ephemera Preservation Dept won't let me mangle a magazine just for the sake of taking it's picture, so I couldn't cut out the page. This ad was printed right into the cleavage of the magazine's binding. Actually, "cleavage" is a bit vulgar, isn't it? Ahem. This ad was printed right into the groin of the magazine's binding, and as such, the name of Liz's new movie is obscured. No matter. We can joke up some of our own.

"Elizabeth Taylor, co-starring in M-G-M's 'Cat on a Hot Tin Rickety Ladder' "

"Elizabeth Taylor, co-starring in 'Her Shoulder Whispered Sweet Secrets' "

"Elizabeth Taylor, co-starring in 'Dial M for Vertebrae' "

"Elizabeth Taylor, co-starring in 'Bury My Neck at Wounded Neck'  Lips by Max Factor, Eyebrows by Sharpie."


Craig said...

Jeebus Christmas, that's a lot of check boxes for Red lipstick. It's like a Meyers-Briggs analysis.

Ten bucks says they just had one gigantic box of "WHORE RED" that they'd pull from, no matter what you filled out on the exam.

Phil Are Go! said...

Heh, you remind me of the Simpsons episode where Homer made the "makeup gun". He shoots the wall and Marge yells "Homer! You've got it set on whore."

Thanks Craig!

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