Is an arresting Vogue Italia cover and fashion spread evidence of environmental sensitivity or a heartless ploy to boost magazine sales with horrific images of a disaster? Depends on whom you ask. The spread, shot in Los Angeles by renowned photographer Steven Meisel, features be-feathered model Kristen McMenamy and her seaweed-like hair apparently suffering amid oil-slicked rocks evocative of the BP Gulf oil spill. "I think they are making light of the oil spill. Everyone isn't going to the beaches and people have lost their jobs here because of the oil," snapped one Florida beach-goer.
The Twitter-verse is abuzz with opinions about the "Water & Oil" spread, with one tweeter noting: "It's just people dying and choking. There's tar everywhere. It's really disturbing." Editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani said she understands it "could be shocking" to see the images, but that the "message is to be careful about nature." Miranda Lash, a curator at the New Orleans Museum of Modern Art, also defends the photos, despite their disturbing quality. They "evoke pain and a feeling of loss and sadness because this is going to hurt my region for a very long time," she told AP.