Glamour: Mysterious, Translucent, Transcendent, Idealised

Watch Virginia Postrel’s 2004 TED talk on Glamour. At first it seems there’s not much here, but by midway, I was having to pause and backtrack to get it all, words and images.

poirotcover.jpgI love glamour, particularly in its architectural and photographic forms. I find the Poirot series with David Suchet extremely glamourous — the visuals, the voices, the music, the movements, the styling, the sensibility. Postrel says that glamour is about being transported from the real world to an idealised place, as through Art Deco streamlining. Trains, planes, and cars can be very glamourous, for this reason, as can arches, spiral or curved staircases, and other shapes that merely hint at something beyond.  Current movie stars and celebrities completely lack glamour for me, perhaps because black-and-white seems so much more glamourous than colour; Postrel says that glamour is partly about editing out the ‘grubby details,’ at which b&w is so adept, and colour not so much.

Some elements and ‘locations’ of glamour that Postrel mentions in this 15-minute talk are mystery; grace; someone like us but at the same slopingbuildingreflection.jpgtime removed; evoking a perfect world; transcendence, transcending the everyday; concealing and revealing at the same time; translucence — inviting us into their world without giving us a clear picture of it (barware, pearls, glass block); leading us towards some place, some possibility, but not reaching the real (skylines, the horizon); illusion; enchantment, magic; something that makes an object seem other than it is; a golden world, perfection: no wires or cords, no bills on the table, no mess, no defects.

Glamour can also be totalitarian and deceptive. Postrel says that Nazism was ‘a very aesthetic ideology,’ about cleaning up and making everything aesthetically pleasing. Glamour can be dangerous.

A remedy for the danger, perhaps, is to consider what gets edited away: “Unveiling the glamour has an appeal.” I agree with that, too, which is why many of my photos are close-up industrial shots, shots of cords, wires, dead and decaying plants and animals, something that’s beautiful, both pure and defiled, and not, perhaps, glamourous.


11:50 Posted in art and photography, media, film, tv, radio, other people said it, pop culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0) | Email this | Tags: glamour, postrel, poirot, art_deco, transcendence, ted_talks, editing


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