Shaking a Finger at Russia
Published: Monday, January 27, 2014
Updated: Monday, January 27, 2014 14:01
It would be an understatement to say that Russia has been full of surprises lately. An anti-gay bill passed causing uproar, security breaches generating concern for the Sochi Olympics in February, and other political statements giving the globe reason to question Russia’s motives in general.
However, over the holiday weekend, Russian magazine editor, Dasha Zhukova was featured in a racially offensive photo published in Buro 24/7 for an interview with Miroslava Duma.
Zhukova, poised gracefully, sat in a chair designed with an African-American woman repurposed into lounging furniture. Although the woman was not real, to make matters worse, the photo was released on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
I am an advocate for artists, their work, anything that supports them and their passion. But when you turn an idea or composition intended for one purpose and mangle it so it becomes a focal piece for your own personal fame or focus, you have intentionally damaged the piece. The chair comes from a Norwegian designer, Bjarne Melgaard, who was inspired from the British Pop artist Allen Jones.
The confusing aspect of the photo is that specific piece of furniture had nothing to do with the actual article. It’s as if that was the last effort to get attention for their interview. Rather than focusing on the content of the dialogue, the approach for creativity and diversity was missed and substituted with upsetting elements.
Journalists, editors and writers in general are often looking for a shock factor for their audience to find a reason to buy or read their work. Clearly, Duma found the perfect echelon to perch upon especially to release on the date of MLK day.
Although Duma released a public apology stating that it was not anyone’s intention to offend or oppress any race or sex with the image, Buro 24/7 later edited the post to feature the photo of Zhukova, cropping the chair out.
Personally, I see where the general public gets their frustration from the media such as magazines and other similar mediums. They take their readers’ attention and time and waste it on offensive images that have no correlation to the articles they’re reading.
Although there are a vast amount of issues with printed media, this one strikes many as a bigger problem than most offensive articles or images. Lately, Russia’s opinions and statements have been increasingly bold and unethical. With that said, it’s unknown if a trend could be starting or merely just another tactic in the journalism field to attract readers.
Amber is a sophomore majoring in public relations and advertising.