It’s quite a pity that all these flawless black shiny skin, calm eyes and beautiful body frame are unreal.
World’s first “digital supermodel,” Shudu Gram is an image created by British fashion photographer 28-year-old Cameron-James Wilson using 3D image rendering software programme DAZ3D. Shudu shot to fame after a picture of her wearing bright orange lipstick was reposted on the official Instagram page of Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty with the caption; “in living color.”
Earlier, the photographer didn’t make it known that Shudu was unreal. The bio of her Instagram page which had 61,800 followers read “Who is she?”. He faced a lot of criticism for this. Wilson claims it has been wrongly reported that he was “forced” to reveal she wasn’t real, arguing that it was “never a big secret”. But when Harper’s Bazaar reached out for an interview, he “knew it was time to just clarify everything.”
“Basically Shudu is my creation, she’s my art piece that I am working on at moment,” the photographer said in the interview with Harper’s Bazaar.
“She is not a real model, unfortunately, but she represents a lot of the real models of today. There’s a big kind of movement with dark skin models, so she represents them and is inspired by them.”
When asked why he had kept Shudu’s identity a secret, he told PEOPLE, “CGI and 3D artists aim for absolute realism. In order to make sure I was hitting that mark, it was important that I was able to make her convincing as possible. If she was convincing people, I was on the right track. To perpetuate that she was real was part of my learning process.”
“If you look at Shudu and she seems familiar, you might be on to something. When journalist Isiuwa Igodan asked where Wilson found the inspiration for her, the photographer said that it wasn’t just one particular woman that the digital supermodel was based on; instead, he drew inspiration from a lot of women over the years. For example, Shudu’s neck rings, or Ndebele, are inspired by a 1999 Dior advert for J’Adore where Carmen Kass walked into a bath of gold. “But her main inspiration is a South African Princess Barbie,” Wilson was quoted as saying. Among other women who inspired his creation were Lupita Nyong’o, Duckie Thot, Nykhor Paul and even Alek Wek, who, said Wilson, “was a massive influence on how I saw beauty growing up.”
Wilson has been criticized for not being “upfront” from the outset about the fact that Shudu wasn’t real. “I completely accept that criticism. I’ve changed it now, I’ve taken down certain hashtags,” he told Mashable. This lack of honesty did not, he says, stem from a desire to fool people or gain Instagram followers. “It was to prove something to myself,” he adds. “Can I create this illusion that she is real? The answer to that question was overwhelmingly answered as yes I can create that illusion.”
Some people have not received his creation so well as there are reactions on Instagram like,
stop capitalizing off of black bodies @shudu.gram
Say whaa?? So now we the artists can’t paint or create representations of the human form unless it’s in our own skin color palette cuz we’ll offend people? 🤔 …oh & realism is apparently also a no.
See some of the Twitter reactions below:
This is problematic. Instead of hiring a black model, the photographer created one. Is it that hard to pay black women? Also shows how much dark skin is still being exoticised by the media. https://t.co/tfmcUzAdzZ
— Moza (@MozaFrique) February 28, 2018
As much as I appreciate art I detest the fact that the minute dark skin is finally glamourized by the mainstream media a white man finds a way to commericalize & capitalize off it. Black skin is not a trend. Black skin is not a toy. Black women even more not so. #Shudu #FreeShudu pic.twitter.com/pu79IGcU1s
— Sonia Pratt (@adrianette_) February 28, 2018
Wilson says he understands the criticisms he’s received, but refutes the claim that he’s profiting from Shudu in any way, and he says he doesn’t feel he’s taking jobs away from anyone. “There has been a lot of misinformation put out there saying that I’m being hired, or that she’s taking jobs away from people, that’s just misinformation. I haven’t been hired, I haven’t been paid,” he says.
He says he hopes that the creation of Shudu will encourage greater representation of black models in the fashion world, and in the 3D animation world.
This post first appeared on www.234star.com
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