Just a couple of observations on this one. Actress, Lupita Nyong’o was photographed for a magazine cover. They edited out her pony tail. This has people upset and the magazine apologizing. Black people have kinky hair, as you likely know, and it sometimes does just whatever it wants to do. Over the years lots of ways of dealing with this have cropped up. Some use corn rows, some straiten, some flatten, some cut it all off, and some let their flag fly proud with a big giant Kaepernick-style Afro. What looks good is all personal style.
Now, to the magazine. Photos, and magazine covers, are art. At least that’s how I see them. Does an artist have the right to create his art in a way that alters his subject? I mean, Andy Warhol certainly did. Picasso turned his female subjects into lines and blocks. In the case of the magazine they made an artistic choice. Also, looking at the cover and the titles on it, they also made a choice relating to the practical matters of where to put the text. I don’t think they were trying to rob her of her ethnicity nor shame her for her kinky hair.
When I look at the side-by-side my personal aesthetic is that the magazine made the right choice. I think she looks lovely in both photos but when you are looking to catch the eye and draw people to your magazine I think the cover they chose does that better. There is something bold about the symmetry. Since I am an artist I probably pay more attention to things like skull shape than most, but the cover they picked reveals what is a perfect shaped head. It goes from being merely a lovely picture, to a stunning example of humanity.
I suppose people can get upset at a little tuft of hair if they want, and I did say that people have different tastes in such things but there are certain human standards that evolution has given us in common. Symmetry and shape are human constants of beauty around the globe. Even though a few cultures have exceptions such as plated lips and gauged ears these are not commonly recognized and beautiful outside of those cultures. Even in days past when racism was more prevalent than today a European sailor recognized the beauty of the native girl that swam out to meet his boat.
Photographer An Le who altered the Grazia cover shot of Lupita Nyong’o by ‘smoothing’ out her natural hair has apologised for the ‘monumental mistake’.