Thursday, August 9, 2007

I've grown accustomed to her face

Today I want to talk about Claire Danes. You know what Claire Danes looks like, right? (Yahoo TV has many, many photos, if you want to refresh your memory.) She has an unusual face, nothing dainty about it. Large eyes, broad nose, pronounced cheekbones, wide mouth, pointy chin. It seems like she shouldn't be beautiful, and yet she is. Her face is her greatest asset as an actor; it's what makes people want to look at her; it's the reason she's famous, pretty much. (Her talent has something to do with it, too, of course -- but lots of young women want to be on television, and very few of them are blessed with a camera-friendly drama mask for a face.)

So here's what I'm wondering: why do images of Ms. Danes keep getting retouched to the point where she is almost unrecognizable? What do the photo retouchers of the world have against her individuality? Exhibit A is the cover of the September issue of Glamour, where Danes appears alongside Queen Latifah and Mariska Hargitay (representing all of us twentysomethings in their beauty-by-decade lineup). I read about this cover in another magazine, which is the only reason I noticed that Danes was in the photo in the first place, and even then I spent some time trying to find her. "It says Claire Danes is on the cover, but where? And who's that blandly pretty blond girl?" This happens a lot with magazine covers -- Go Fug Yourself has an entire category devoted to calling out the worst examples. And Danes isn't the only one who looks...not completely like herself on that cover ("Look your sexiest at 20, 30, 40 -- our art department shows you how!"). But honestly, if I don't recognize the celebrity on the cover of your magazine, it defeats the whole purpose of putting a celebrity on the cover of your magazine.

Exhibit B is the poster for new movie Stardust -- which is not the same movie as Sunshine, in case you're confused (I was). Here the weird flattening of features may be due to the "fantasy-movie poster that looks like a painting" genre conventions. And they did get a little closer than Glamour. But still, I had to stop and study the central figure before I was satisfied that it was indeed Danes. And I have better things to do with my time. (Although I guess that's debatable, since I am now blogging about it.) And so I put it to you: Have you noticed this? Do you think Claire Danes has a "no cheekbones" rider in her standard contract nowadays? Or is she just a particularly obvious victim of the overzealous airbrushing that affects all famous people in our digital age?

1 comment:

Deane said...

Claire should never, ever be airbrushed and should always be styled as she is in Shopgirl, the movie that made me love her. If you have not seen it, please turn off the Waltons and watch it immediately.