Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hailey Clauson was 14 when she posed for this shot, but apparently only some of her more recent work is "blatantly salacious"

kava gorna

Another day, another tabloid scandal involving controversial fashion images of an underage model. On Friday The New York Post broke the news that American Hailey Clauson has commenced proceedings in the New York federal court against American photographer Jason Lee Parry and three US retailers, including the US streetwear chain Urban Outfitters, over the sale of merchandise featuring sexually provocative images of Clauson that were shot by Parry when Clauson was 15. Clauson, who turned 16 in March this year - and last December, told New York magazine that she still sleeps with her baby blanket - is seeking US$28million in damages. Court papers claim that although Clauson’s representation at the time, New York’s Ford Models, obtained an assurance from Parry that the images would not be published, the shots were subsequently published in Germany’s Qvest magazine and several of the images later appeared on T-shirts and other merchandise, all without Clauson’s consent. The court papers allege that “She is posed in a blatantly salacious manner with her legs spread, without a bra, revealing portions of her breasts. The image of Teen in a spread eagle position making her crotch area the focal point of the image may portray a child in a sexually suggestive manner and may be in violation of one or more federal and/or state laws”. But are we talking about the louche image, above, of Clauson with her legs spread? No. Below is the image in question in the New York federal court case, which also references another Parry shot in which Clauson is holding a six-pack of beer.

The shot at the very top of this post was taken by a photographer by the name of Kava Gorna when Clauson was just 14.

In a since deleted post on her own blog from January last year – which is still nevertheless cached on Google – Clauson herself published a selection of images from the same Gorna portfolio, stating that they were taken during the summer of 2009 for Blast magazine. It’s not clear whether this specific shot was also published in Blast, but it does appear on Gorna's website.

Also deleted from Clauson’s blog: some behind-the-scenes images of the Parry shoot.

Although Parry told The New York Post the images "got stole from me", the Styleite blog has since reported that Mitra Khayyam, the owner of the company which made the T-shirt, Blood Is the New Black, has denied this, alleging that the images had been “delivered to us … with the sole purpose of producing tee shirts and marketing them to our network of stores worldwide.” Khayyam also claims that neither she, nor Urban Outfitters, had been aware at the time that Parry did not have a release for the images or that Clauson was underage. 

Earlier today a statement signed "Team Parry" was released to a number of blogs, including frockwriter, from a production company called Shape of Content - a collaborator of Parry's, which bills itself as a "compositor" on a video of the Parry/Clauson photoshoot. [UPDATE Monday 5.36pm: The latter video has since been pulled from Vimeo. But here it is on YouTube]. 

According to the statement:
" - The model’s father was present for a majority of the shoot. He was shown photos while on set and sanctioned them long before they were published.

- Ford modeling agency assigned the model for Jason Lee Parry’s shoot. Ford approved the fashion story featured in Qvest magazine to be published. The photo in question was featured in the model’s portfolio on Ford’s site. All correspondence is documented in emails approving the shoot.

- A total of seven people were on set during the entire duration of the shoot, including three female stylists, and a female videographer. The upmost care was given to ensure the model was provided privacy while changing wardrobes and that absolutely no nudity of any kind was visible.

-There was absolutely no breasts or genitalia visible in the image in question. There is less skin observable in the image than could be seen in any contemporary bathing suit photo.

- Unbeknownst to Jason Lee Parry the image in question was selected by the t-shirt brand. He was also unaware of retail distribution of t
he t-shirt".

-After the photos were released the model proudly posted the images in question to her personal site.
Jason Lee Parry’s creative vision for the fashion photos in question is about a rebellious teenage girl hanging out at her father's motorcycle shop. The story captures the American working class, motorcycle culture, and highlights the designer clothing featured on the model. The model is perched on the back of a vintage motorcycle. She is sitting in a position she determined would be comfortable and relevant to the photo. She is seated in relaxed casual manner, a tough motorcycle mechanic’s daughter. It is not to be perceived in any way as overtly sexual.

Jason Lee Parry is professional photographer in every aspect of his work. His edgy contemporary photography captivates the culture he photographs and defines his generation. His photography has been featured in countless international publications and online sources. Fans, friends, and family of Jason Lee Parry’s high fashion photography eagerly await closure of these defaming allegations and lawsuit". 

Evidently there are a number of facts in dispute in this case. 

But some evidence seems incontrovertible: that at 15, Clauson posed in a sexually suggestive manner for Parry. Just as at 14, she posed in an equally sexually suggestive manner for Gorna.

In fact it is not at all difficult to find a number of other examples of underage Clausen photographed in sexually provocative poses: for the Wildfox Couture campaign, for various editorials and also what appear to be test shots taken when she was 14, as published on The Fashion Spot website in early 2009

Here is a selection (photo gallery best viewed on the blog):

WordPress plugin

Just a reminder that Clauson is no consenting adult. She is a minor.

If underage models continue to appear in these kinds of photoshoots , it is solely because adults have enabled them. The buck stops with them. Not just photographers, stylists and editors but model agents and yes, parents. Any model under the age of 16 is supposed to be chaperoned on work assignments.

If Clauson’s parents don’t like their daughter posing in “sexually suggestive” positions, then why have they allowed her to do so, over and over again, for two years? 

Scouted during an open casting call in LA in 2008, Clauson’s rise has been meteoric, in spite of her age. More than one model under the age of 16 has found herself unable to work during the Paris show season, for example, due to stricter regulations in France.

At 15, Clauson nevertheless walked in 14 shows in her first international show season, Spring/Summer 2011, in September/October 2010. These included blue chip names such as Calvin Klein, Gucci, Versace and in Paris, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Christian Dior, Miu Miu and Lanvin. She then added the Gucci and DSquared2 SS11 advertising campaigns to her CV, propelling her virtually overnight into the Top 50 Women rankings (at #45). She has also been photographed for W, Elle, Numéro and the Chinese, Russian, French and Italian editions of Vogue.

Since the Jason Lee Parry shoot, Clauson has changed agencies twice in New York, moving from Ford to Marilyn and then earlier this year, to Next Model Management.

photo gallery:

1: kava gorna
2, 3, 4: wildfox couture campaign via leather studded kiss
5: unknown via TFS
6: unknown via TFS
7: tony duran via hailey clauson's blog
8: tony duran via hailey clauson's blog
9. greg kadel for numéro may 2011 via
10: tony duran via TFS


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