New York Times columnist David Segal has perused an advance copy of the March 2016 U.S. issue of Playboy magazine. The one that marks the beginning of a more tasteful photographic era.
Segal writes that the most surprising benefit of the new approach is that it has allowed Playboy to ditch the airbrushing. From his critique:
The centerfold, for instance — yes, there is still a centerfold, in this case, Dree Hemingway, a great-granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway — cavorts in the buff. But this is the Garden of Eden after a bite of the apple, and our Eve, while amused, seems a bit embarrassed. In one shot, it’s as if someone has just stolen her clothing, leaving her to hide as much of herself as she can with both hands.
Ms. Hemingway and other featured women in the issue are unretouched. Playboy photographs have long been triumphs of technology, giving models a sheen of perfection that is unobtainable without lots of carefully placed lights and aggressive airbrushing. That is over. Some images in the March issue are grainy, and all feel more impromptu than posed. The magazine has adopted the unadorned, point-and-shoot aesthetic made famous by American Apparel ads and fashion photographers like Terry Richardson.
Paradoxical as it may sound, Playboy has undergone major cosmetic surgery and emerged from the operating room looking more natural.
Another intriguing aspect of the U.S. print relaunch is the photographer for the pictorial featuring Myla Dalbesio. That photographer is Dalbesio herself.