It’s clear that the L.A. Times wanted exactly the type of response these pics elicited from the public or they wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of Photoshopping Kobe’s pictures beyond recognition.
The stylist, one James Valeri, gamely took the heat for the insulting, unflattering photos of Kobe. But in reality, these images are not the stylist’s fault. Whoever Photoshopped the pics are to blame, not the stylist.
When a loyal reader emailed the pics to me, I initially thought it was a prank. Kobe can’t be happy with the way these pictures turned out. I doubt he will sit for another photo shoot any time soon.
Here’s what Valeri had to say about the concept and the wardrobe choices:
On the project’s concept
The concept was about shooting everything in white. That was Ruven’s idea [photographer Ruven Afanador]. But I wanted to do something more modern and less conventional and less cliched. … It’s a more modern silhouette. It’s not like, ‘Let’s just put Kobe in a pair of pants and a shirt or in a suit.’ The clothing is all layered.
On the negative reactions
The scarf picture and the hat picture were more to create an iconic image. When you do a portrait, you do think of the styling in how they’re going to be different and how they’re going to stand out. In 10 years time, or five years time, there has to be something particular or strange or different that will stand out. That image will stay in your mind. That’s how it’s going to become iconic. … A lot of people aren’t used to that, so when iconic pictures come out, they’re disturbing, insulting, fascinating, it has a strong feeling attached to it, good or bad. Read more…