Pop juggernaut and international sensation Taylor Swift was recently named TIME’s Person of the Year, an honor she shares with 14 presidents, three Popes, the computer, the Earth, and you. While the selection was not without controversy, one photographer took particular issue with the photoshoot that accompanied the profile written by Sam Lansky.
lol i work on the photo team of a similarly large media company and let me just say this shoot has not been deemed a success https://t.co/G6hB49E2pR— h (@ipodmacbook) December 6, 2023
On Twitter, H posted, “lol i work on the photo team of a similarly large media company and let me just say this shoot has not been deemed a success” before following it up with more specific critiques, particularly of the cover image, which features Swift holding her cat Benjamin Button around her neck: “10000th boring grey background terrible hairstyling flat lighting completely derivative of annie Leibovitz’s portrait of DiCaprio with swan but executed terribly also the Lego hand? like what is this photo supposed to be.”
In another tweet, they wrote, “it just reeks of the corporate client over involving themselves in a high profile shoot and stripping all style from the image to avoid risk until you end up with the photographic equivalent of a saltine cracker.” In their final tweet on the subject, they concluded, “overall time is a journalistic mag and the creative of this shoot feels like photojournalists tried to shoot fashion but don’t have the nuance to understand the stylistic choices that make that work interesting so it feels low production value and kinda cheap.”
disagree I think time butchered the retouching. I&V are phenomenally talented and excel at this. the photos were run with none of their style, which is on Time since they would do the post. i color corrected the screenshots to show it’s rly the treatment making these so boring pic.twitter.com/afC7H37BMc— h (@ipodmacbook) December 6, 2023
Perhaps most damning are the alternatives they offered after color correcting the photos; the difference is night and day, which seems to suggest that H was correct and the photos themselves - taken by former Lady Gaga collaborators Inez and Vinoodh - weren’t the problem, but that TIME did indeed “butcher the retouching.” H’s color corrections breathe new life into the photos which previously looked incredibly flat and dull - TIME should hire them, tbh.
taylor swift fans seem very reasonable and polite but i don’t think I’ll tweet about her going forward— h (@ipodmacbook) December 7, 2023
Anyway, as is always the way, H is now being bombarded with abuse from Swifties who cannot distinguish between a criticism of TIME Magazine and a criticism of Taylor herself. You’d think her fans would want one of the biggest photoshoots of her career to do her justice. Apparently not!