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Old 27th January 2008   #1
HSG
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Default Christina in the desert


Christina Schmidt and photographer Michael Anthony recently took a trip out into the California desert, and produced a fascinating photo series that vividly captures the nature of winter on the West Coast.

Unlike the sun-scorched character of the desert in summertime, in the winter this landscape takes on a desolate, windswept quality, much akin to the Canadian tundra--and Christina, as a Canadian model, fits the setting perfectly.

This image shows a particularly unique and interesting expression from Christina--a more gentle, almost beseeching look than she has created in the past. It's extremely fitting for the setting, with the wind sweeping wisps of hair across the model's face in a highly romantic manner. This picture has a very different character than Christina's past work.

The next photo demonstrates how much an intriguing natural setting can contribute to a memorable image. Far from being rocky and craggy, these ancient stones have been worn down into smooth, undulating shapes by aeons of wind--their rounded contours a fitting visual compliment to the curves of a plus-size model. And observe how vividly the plum colour of the jacket stands out (but harmoniously, not garishly) again the neutral backdrop. Note too the lone spring of yellow buds in the background--as unique in its lonely beauty as is Christina herself, in this arid setting.

Here, in close-up, we again see the windswept effect viewed in the first image, with the gust dramatically blowing Christina's tresses across her face. Again, this shows a gentler expression than we have seen in past Christina shoots. Fans have always knows that she could be confident, but here, she shows that she has a softer side as well. Like a painter adding colours to his palette, Christina is ever adding to her emotional range.

Perhaps the best example of Christina's new repertoire is seen here. With her beseeching eyes, the model leaves the viewer wondering--is her persona in this image trembling in the icy chill of the wind? Or is she exposing an inner hurt? The lonely setting becomes an externalization of her emotions, augmenting the melancholy, even as the berry hue of the jacket (like that floral spring in the background) suggests that the model's passions have not been extinguished, forlorn as she may be.

The solitude of the desert becomes almost eerie in the following image, with the stark, column-like trees jutting out into the distance, like the last standing fragments of a ancient temple. Continuing the despair-narrative of this series, Christina's presence in this landscape--a singular black shape standing out against the grey waste--intimates a sense of quiet resolve. "You have wounded me," the image seems to say, "but yet I survive."

And in the final image, the model lets down her guard a little more, and her eyes merely ask, "Why? When I have done so much for you, why do you hurt me?"

This series testifies to a fascinating new direction from this accomplished model/photographer team, showing them realizing a new vision. Christina adds (and the photographer captures) a wide range of new emotional colours that exhibit a deeper sensitivity on the model's part, a broadening of her already vast expressive range. Michael Anthony brilliantly chooses landscapes that mirror and amplify the model's feelings, symbolizing them and adding to their immediacy.

We eagerly look forward to more collaborations from this creative team.
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Old 27th January 2008   #2
Kaitlynn
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Default Re: Christina in the desert

I'm absolutely captived by these pictures. I especially adore the new range of expressions from Christina. It's true- they're very different from what she's done in the past, and they make quite an impression. I've always been in awe of her confident poses, and I still am, but she could almost be intimidating sometimes (because you knew that, no matter what, you, the viewer, could never be as self-assured as her, no matter how much you wanted to be). But these images show a softer, more vulnerable side.

These photos really involve you. They draw you in.

These images could (and should) definitely be an editorial in a fashion magazine.

I also love how the landscape illustrates her emotions (or her character's emotions). Christina and Michael Anthony really achieved something memorable here.
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Old 27th January 2008   #3
Emily
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Default Re: Christina in the desert

These wintry images make a fine contrast to the very "hot" pictures that Kelsey and Lindsey shot in the desert, a while back. It's a completely different feeling here.

I like the fact that in these photos, Christina has a fairer complexion than I've ever seen from her before -- at least since the picture that appears atop her first interview page on this site (the one where she's in white, looking over her shoulder). In these shots, the MUA created a really delicate look, and the wind gave her a hint of natural blush. It matches the chilly but vibrant atmosphere of the images.

I think Christina should experiment with these wistful/melancholy looks more often. She does them very well. The expressions make you want to comfort her and take care of her. It's as if, beneath her confidence, there was a hidden vulnerability that now emerges. (That acting background really helps.) Her looks are growing more complex and mult-faceted, which is fascinating to see. Some of Christina's best work to date.

And the photographer's idea of matching the landscapes to the emotions that Christina exhibits is sheer genius.
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Old 28th January 2008   #4
HSG
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Default Re: Christina in the desert


Here's one more image from this remarkable series:

No studio wind machine can ever create the drama of a model's tresses blowing across her face in as romantic a manner as a natural breeze can. Observe the interesting effect of seeing Christina's shadow stretching off to the right, making the model seem almost like a living monument in this desolate waste, balanced by the erratic blocks to the left. Again, the vibrant red of her garment stands out dramatically against the neutral backdrop, and contrasts vividly with the clear blue sky.

Picking up on the narrative thread in this series, that one element of lyrical beauty--the halcyon sky--departs from the otherwise stark nature of the images, and perhaps portends a brighter future for Christina's persona, who has now endured whatever heartache she suffered, and emerged the better for it. She now goes out into the world wounded but wiser, her heart scarred, but still capable of the deepest feeling.

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Old 30th January 2008   #5
MelanieW
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Default Re: Christina in the desert

Amazing test - love the new expressions.

And speaking of Christina in red, I discovered one more picture from her last Torrid shoot that no one has posted yet:

http://www.torrid.com/torrid/store/...845524442170574

And yes, shes in a passionate red top. Terrific fit.
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