At first glance, Don't touch my universe by Frank Bayh and Steff Rosenberger-Ochs looks like a typical series of fashion shoots.
But look a little closer at the German photography duo’s work and a rather stunning satire begins to emerge.
As vapid-eyed models stare perfunctorily into the camera, behind them, planes crash into building, panicked people pour down streets and worlds are engulfed in plumes of toxic smoke.
“The project is about the indifference people have towards their own influence over the environment and nature,” Frank explains.
“A young lady, who cares about nothing other than her beauty, ignores the events out her window. She is committed fully to rapid consumption, and ignores the risks this poses for the world.”
For all the environmental message is genuine, there is something undeniably funny about the images. It’s difficult not to laugh at the idea of a model so consumed with vanity, she neglects to notice a natural disaster outside her window.
“Small details in the photos that make the viewer smile are important elements for us,” Frank admits.
“For example, Steff and I, along with the make-up artists and stylists involved in the project, all figure in the disaster scenes.”
Don't touch my universe won second place in the Lifestyle category at last year’s Sony World Photography Awards and is currently being exhibited around the world.
There’s something in the work that reminds us of the ‘culture jamming’ movement of the early-mid 90s, when artists altered the images and words on billboard adverts to express some anti-capitalist rebellion.
What do you think? Childish, or brilliant?
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