But why does this bother me more than the cover of her first single, “One,” the photo of a young girl (she was 17 at the time) who has been debauched and discarded.
Is it because Ferreira throws the reality of this invasion back in our faces instead of offering the usual lecherous fantasy projection of a man being welcomed into a young girl’s shower?
Hers is not the terror of Janet Leigh in Psycho:
Ferreira is vulnerable, somewhat repulsed and, perhaps most of all, resigned.
Now this is not the first time a pop star has gone topless to promote an album. Debbie Harry did it in 1976:
This is not even the first time Ferreira has done a topless shoot (as a simple Google search reveals).
But Ferreira did not want to go with the usual Lolita image,** as she explains:
I think my label wanted … well they sent me mockups of photos of a shoot I did two years ago. I had long blonde hair and I’m sitting on a bed looking cute. I’m in a black dress looking pretty. It’s whatever. It’s a beautiful photo but that’s just what it is: me, modeling. And that’s what they wanted me to use instead of me looking demented in the shower. I thought it was great to have the opportunity to have an album cover shot by Gaspar, who’s one of my favorite directors ever. [Gaspar Noé directed Irreversible, which follows the consequences of a brutal rape.] I was so fortunate. I’m so grateful to work with him. I think it’s the first album cover he’s ever shot too. And he’s a huge influence on me and that image is really important to me. It says a lot to me … my face says it all.”
There is something qualitatively different about this cover photo. Is it that the viewpoint is no longer that of Humbert Humbert, but of Lolita herself?
* Out today in the UK, months after its physical release in the US, which was months after its digital release.
** Of course, Sky Ferreira has employed the Lolita image extensively elsewhere, which I will take up in my next post . . .