Femme Fatale: Famous Beauties Then and Now Hardcover – 28 Feb 2002
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I really got the wrong book. Instead of what I was expecting, this book features celebrities made over to appear like they would in different time periods, and the photos are high quality, oversized and printed on slick glossy paper. Some of the transformations are very well done (the girl on the front cover is Julia Roberts, believe it or not) So the book is not without merit, but they could have done a lot more.
If I wanted to see pictures of Britney Spears, I'd just read People magazine.
By definition, the term "femmes fatales" was coined to gorgeous women whose actions were detrimental or harmful to their men or partners. Thus, in real life a woman could be gorgeous without being fatal, or vice versa, she could be fatal without being exceptionally gorgeous. Cleopatra was one such woman, who although not extraordinarily beautiful, was able to charm two Roman generals and to lead them to their downfall.
Although hairstyle was an important component of a woman's appearance, it was certainly not the unique feature of a person. Her eyes, smile, demeanor, sleek appearance, and clothing also played important roles. Therefore, to reduce a woman's character to her hairdo, as the hairstylist-author had suggested, was to overly simplify the matter.
The women photographed in the book were certainly "chic," although not necessarily "fatal."
In an interview with a French magazine, the photographer described himself as awed or intimidated when Susan Sarandon showed up. He only relaxed when she took charge and he just responded to what he saw. The mutual respect shown by the professionals on both sides of the camera is what makes these images good.
This is not just a catalog of beatiful pictures of contemporary icons playing dress up. If it is authentic it makes a convincing statement about the power and stature of these famous modern women and a lot of not so famous all around us.
If you know a young woman who wants to be in the next book like this, show it to her. I have handed it to several young women I've photographed recently. "Oh, my God! Britney Spears is beautiful." "That can't be Claudia Schiffer." "Elizabeth Hurley scares me!" Isabella Rossellini as Betty Page is the show stopper, however.
The photography is as good as it gets, but the material added to hang it all together weakens the book. Some of it is completely contrived and bogus.
Next time let the women and the photographer do their work and let the readers draw the conclusions. Meanwhile a lot of wannabe photographers and young models have some catching up to do.