Glamour: an enchanting beauty, a captivating appearance attained using cosmetic means or technical tricks. The word can be traced back to a Scottish variant of the Middle English “gramary(e)” meaning “magic, black art”. The magic of glamour aims at manipulating the way in which one is perceived. Thus, the body of a female homo sapiens, which is, in physical terms, only a cluster of matter, can be transformed into a captivating subject by manipulating the way in which it is perceived. Due to the fact that human perception is always selective and driven by fantasy, in essence, everyone takes part in the process of enchantment which we call glamour. We don’t see things how they are [. The illusion of “pure perception”], but rather how we want to see them. A material which in itself is without expression, a face for example, can be lent an enchanting radiance by selecting a series highlights (red cheeks, moist eyes or lips, diamonds etc) in an artificial manner. Within the human species, it is mainly women who have developed the glamorous techniques of enchantment further, using a growing industry of helpers to attain this (fashion, cosmetics, photography, film etc). When considered as a form of .black magic, the magic of glamour is essentially aimed at harming other people or groups of people. With the help of an elaborate illusion, some sort of personal advantage is gained by enchanting the observers (care, children, recognition, money etc). On the other hand, the international success of glamour would be unthinkable if there wasn’t a part of the human disposition that allows itself to be dazzled and deceived. This is an area which has yet to be explored but is obviously genuine. In contrast, animals have proved to be largely resistant to glamour. This has been corroborated by the efforts of a German photographer in a Berlin zoo. The animals (including an elephant, a rhino, a hippo, a penguin, a tapir, a gorilla and a marabou) had their portraits taken under studio conditions and demonstrate significant behaviour differences when compared to human models. 1. They don’t perform for the camera, 2. They resist any sort of artificial make-up [. make up] 3. They refrain from any sort of courtship ritual with or sexual advances towards the photographer [. making an effort to impress]. For his part, the photographer dispenses with any sort of staging or manipulation of his models, with the exception of lighting. The result is a double demystification of both traditional modelling shoots and standard animal photography. In von Reiswitz’s works, the gorilla isn’t a “furry relative“, the elephant isn’t a “big-eared Dumbo“, the tapir isn’t “cute” and the hippopotamus isn’t a yawning “hippo”. Using a form of magic that runs contrary to the standard idea of glamour, the sort of images we all know from stickers are revealed and contrasted with their more unusual features at the same time. Thus von Reiswitz doesn’t portray the elephant as an animal with a trunk, but rather emphasises (lat. Protrahere) something else: the small eye in a mountain of wrinkles. These are “portraits” that have been freed from the glamour effect of glossy magazines - if they can still fascinate human observers, only one (paradoxical) conclusion can be drawn from this. The magic of these zoo personalities stems from the fact that they don’t want to enchant the observer. Although von Reiswitz does work with the methods of glamour, he doesn’t try to put the vanity of humans and their desire for eternity in the forefront in contrast to classical portrait photography. His work instead exposes animals’ refusal to follow vanity and their natural impermanence. If a human diva has her tuft of keratin fibres [. hair] styled until they appear to the observer as a magnificent collection of curls, she is obeying the practices of archaic magic “because she is seeking to impose her will on the world in a way that the world of science would term irrational .“[Meyer Encyclopedia]. . Jean Deuze introduced the concept of magie blonde for this phenomenon. To make a distinction from this, the act of photographing the sweat-covered skin of a hippopotamus that is actively running away from the camera has been termed investigative glamour by the .New Guggenheim School and has drawn comparisons with the etchings of Dutch masters. The close-up techniques tested by von Reiswitz have freed glamour from its demonic trap. Photography has become once again the art of the black and the white, in that the black magic has been enhanced by the addition of white magic, which doesn’t dazzle and confuse as much as reveal and make visible. The photographer doesn’t get closer to the zoo model using a telephoto lens – he actually gets near to them in person. His aim is not to remove the sense of mystery from the animals but rather to give it back to them. The magic of these portraits arises from their aloofness. The closer the photographer gets to them (up to 20cm), the more strangely the animals end up looking back at him. Bulette, one of the most famous and most frequently photographed hippopotamuses in the world, shares the same fate as human divas, as once formulated by Marlene Dietrich “I’ve been photographed to death.“ Von Reiswitz has started the process of reanimation. The future of glamour will depend on whether its protagonists succeed in forgetting the whole magic at the decisive moment..

[source: encyclopaedia trillenium, hcl]

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