Gisele Bündchen’s Photo Shoot is a Study in Interpreting Racially Charged Images

by Latoya Peterson

What does this picture call to mind for you? What is the first thing you think of?

This shot one of a series of photos featuring Gisele Bündchen, shot by Norwegian fashion photographer Sølve Sundsbø. The pictures make use of Gisele’s body contrasted with those of buff, dark skinned male models. I am often wary of the color contrast idea in fashion photography – darker skinned minorities always seem to end up as background color – the results are usually striking.

However, there also seems to be another dynamic at play here.

Over at Project Rungay, the authors of the post playfully warn their readers to “Grab a glass of icewater and a fan, girls” indicating the raciness of the pictures below.

One of the selected photos is used to show Gisele’s physical desire for her on-camera companions:

But the first comment on the Project Rungay post reveals some of the tensions at play with these images:

5/3/09 8:36 AM

wow, those photos are fierce. can’t tell if the guys are her slaves or if they’re raping her. interesting race dialogue. the first photo is super sexy

Your thoughts, readers?

(Photos:Photos: Sølve Sundsbø via Project Runga
(Thanks to Angel H., Roldy, Butterflyrei, and Taylord for the tips!)