FASHION ON FILM: PICTURE ME (2009)

by Jeremy Danté

P1NEW YORK – i discovered this documentary filmed by former model, sara ziff, when i had that annoying moment in new york with the PR bitch from hell. after experiencing a bit of fashion, from a real perspective, i questioned whether or not i was moving in the right direction. the story that sara ziff captured in this documentary provided a harsh and realistic experience in the world of high fashion. speaking with models about their experiences, the documentary is glaring and some times uncomfortable. race was not addressed in the documentary, and only one glimpse of naomi campbell was seen. it documents sara getting signed to an agency and booking a tommy hilfiger campaign, as well as booking a runway casting for marc jacobs. also discussed are the attitudes towards the large sums of money that models are paid and how behavior of individuals around them may shift because of it. the interesting, not so progressional approach, to the way that this documentary was captured allows for a greater sense of grit to be experienced. filmed by ziff’s then boyfriend, ole schell, the couple experience the incredible highs of being a high fashion model and discover many of the dark sides. in high fashion, many have heard the stories of terry richardson, and his sexual exploits with young models whom he basically victimizes. while the documentary doesn’t point directly at him, and terry makes a cutting cameo without any real camera air time, many of the stories that the models mentioned seemed to be associated with him. using vague vocabulary like, ‘well known photographer’ protected the models from suffering filing of lawsuits, but it was clear who a couple of the models were talking about. gripping and emotional, the documentary maintains its sense of realness as a range of models are interviewed throughout, edited in a way that supports the experiences that ziff speaks out about. the one down side for this documentary is that is does not involve models of color. truth be told, a greater issue would have been discussed otherwise. this is probably one of the realest documentaries about modeling i have seen, there are no others like it on the market. it took home ‘best fashion film’ at the milan international film festival. a must see for any aspiring models, who may not be as aware of the true price models pay for the glitz and glamour of the illustrious fashion industry.