I Didn’t Get To See Ethan Hawke

I heard Joel Meyerowitz had photographed Ethan Hawke for the current edition of T Magazine, a glossy, high-quality style magazine inserted in the Sunday New York Times newspaper. I like Joel and I like Ethan and so I was looking forward to seeing the photographs.

But unfortunately, it wasn’t a photograph of Ethan, it was a photograph of over $11k worth of clothing hanging on Ethan, threads that I have no idea if he would ever really wear.

My first thought was, “It seems ordinary enough, probably trying to get a real guy type portrait, though I guess you don’t care about getting the dogs in the shot. But then, why have them?” In any case, then I read the caption under the photograph.

Where do you have to go to buy $2100 pants? Do they have a decent fitting room to try them on, to make sure they’re your size before you spend over $2k on pants? Almost $5000 for the pants with sweater combo?

The $6200 jacket seems almost too new, like it’s not even broken in.

I know it’s a style magazine, but then why hire a street photographer and take photos out on the Brooklyn streets? Why not shoot in studio and get a fashion photographer to do the shoot? Gregory Heisler would have been a good choice. Or Dan Winters.

Or me, I’d set up lights in a studio and do a better job. No one would think it wasn’t a style shoot.

Here’s Ethan’s full article. The photograph of him that was one of 6 possible covers, that’s a better photograph, but still looks like stiff clothes hanging on an actor who doesn’t wear them. The street litter adds to the photograph’s journalistic tone. But nothing else is real. Why not photograph him in someone else’s house, too? Or car? Are they really his dogs, or did the stylist bring them? (If you read the story, you find out he does have two dogs, so I’m assuming they’re his.)

This outfit is downright slumming it–only $6720. With the unnamed t-shirt price, let’s figure a cool $7k! Anyone can afford that, right?

My rant originates because I care about photography. And what is its intention. (Plus it’s spelled out on the window in the first photograph!)

My thinking is Ethan Hawke isn’t a model. He’s an actor and the article is supposed to be about the life of an actor. When does he have time to play dress-up in some styist’s clothing? If he were a model, it would be fine. But again, get a photographer who knows how to stylize the photograph like the designer stylized the model.

Not a street photographer who is good at making realistic photographs, with an actor wearing brand new, fresh off-the-shelf items costing thousands of dollars. It feels false.

And there has to be a better frame than the one with the dog cut out of the photo. There just has to be. Who edited these photographs?

Here’s the link to the full story Ethan’s was a part of if you want to see more expensive clothing: 24 Hours In The Creative Life, which features multiple artists.

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