New York Daily Photo Analytics

Friday, May 28, 2010

Obsession Will Pass

I do not recall my specific needs, but some years ago, I visited John De Lorenzo & Brothers at 43 Grand Street in SoHo. The iron and sheet metal company, formed in 1907 and closed in 2008, had been recommended to me for welding. I never imagined that at some future date, the rooftop would support a huge billboard of a nude model (nearly nude with a strategically placed index finger). See more photos here and here.

The ad is for Katrice wedge sandals by designer Sam Edelman, modeled by Charlotte Kemp Muhl. The 22-year-old model/singer is signed with top agency Elite Model Management and has appeared in many national ad campaigns. She is currently the girlfriend of Sean Lennon. Together they have formed the company Chimera Music.

In America, there is an enormous amount of attention paid to exposure of the female breast. Laws govern very special anatomical limits - the requirement of pasties to cover nipples in bars etc. However, unbeknownst to many, in 1992, women in New York State won the right to go topless anywhere a man is permitted: The People &c., Respondent, v. Ramona Santorelli and Mary Lou Schloss, Appellants, et al., Defendants. Many are unaware of this ruling, including police officers - quizzing them will get varied and interesting responses.

The amount to which female breasts are exposed in public is like a societal time marker - as time passes, we move towards more exposure, with the nipple being the final and ultimate revelation. While some see this as a sign of a society in decline, others, particularly in Europe, see American views regarding the topless woman as being quite Victorian and concern to be over zealous. I am not sure what will happen if nudity becomes very common in advertising and television - whether society will implode or the obsession will pass :)


Anonymous said...

Hi, my name’s Sara and I’m from Italy. I found your blog searching something about New York and it’s very nice  I love your city. I was there two years ago for my honeymoon and I felt in love. Across your blog I can live there for a while. Thank you so much.

Brian Dubé said...

Thanks. I am curious what a European thinks of an ad like this.

Peter said...

I wish more women would exercise their "legal right". Even if the obsession will pass, we can look forward to having a few good years while it lasts.

jamespcullen said...

Love this one you bring me to places in New York that I would never see and I take my camera to your city every year thank you for all your great work

Ineke said...

as an european and even a woman ;) i find it all so not worth the attention. Everyone has seen breast before or other body parts naked. Problems with nudity is very 50-ies for most Dutch. I just dont see any harm in nudity.
Which also leads to (in general) a more liberal view on sexual topics. There is not much that is not spoken about in my household. If my children ask they will get an answer.
I would look at this add, but think not much of it to be honest.
O wait. i do.
i like the shoes. :)

Brian Dubé said...

Ineke - that was my expectation and what I have heard. Many Americans understand what you say, agree with it, but still basically maintain a more Victorian attitude towards sex and nudity.

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nonny said...

Did you say that the billboard was for shoes - hmmm, I didn't seem to notice them!!

Anonymous said...

These days I think you should be commended for keeping your clothes on given the number of people flashing their bits about the place. I'm not sure why staying clothes is considered Victorian. Labelling it like this implies that it's prudish - just as there is nothing wrong with nudity there should be nothing wrong with keeping your clothes on either.

kylie said...

Peter, does that mean men will be willing to display their, ahem, assets, if women start exercising their legal rights. What's good for the goose is good for the gander after all!

Kelly in Australia said...

I love your blog Brian and have been reading it for many years. I can't believe the double standard that appears to exist in the US - where people get so offended by breastfeeding yet billboards like this are accepted!