A year before model and “Gone Girl” actress Emily Ratajkowski gained national notoriety for her topless turn in the provocative music video for Robin Thicke’s 2013 smash hit “Blurred Lines,” she found herself in the house of photographer Jonathan Leder.
While there, Leder used a Polaroid camera to snap about a hundred photos of Ratajkowski.
Leder’s particular brand of photography tends toward the erotic — his personal website, for example, is extremely not safe for work — and these photographs are no different. In most of them, Ratajkowski posed in lingerie, though in many she’s entirely nude (with no strategically placed hands or furniture, at that).
Seventy-one of these Polaroids have been jam-packed into a new $80 collector’s book called “Leder/Ratajkowski” and released by Imperial Pictures.
Its description on the book’s official website called it “a book of supernaturally sensual photos” that portray Ratajkowski as “a vintage pin-up queen with a 21st Century edge” in various states of undress.
In it, the description stated, “she’s pure simmering sex appeal. It’s a wonder she didn’t burn the house down.”
The photos will also be on display at Chelsea’s Castor Gallery in February, USA Today reported.
In the book’s foreword, Leder described his first impression of Ratajkowski.
“My first thought was, wow, that’s a mouthful,” he wrote of her last name. “This one’s not gonna go too far with that name.”
Then, he saw her photographs, and his first impression, he wrote, was “wow. That’s quite a figure.”
He then described the shoot:
We shot for two nights in the Cape House in Woodstock, NY. Just her and I. I think the results speak for themselves. I will say it was a very lovely shoot. She was very, shall we say, comfortable with her body and as far as shoots go, I would say it was fun. Over the course of the two evenings, we shot about a hundred Polaroids, most of them which are now presented here, many for the first time.
The foreword’s tone, while potentially sounding to some as sexist, presented their relationship as somewhat warm — Leder, after all, described the shoot as “fun.”
Ratajkowski, though, seemed to have diametrically opposite feelings. While she didn’t claim to have any legal means to stop the book’s publication, in a series of tweets she said, “This book and the images within them are a violation.”
“I’ve been resisting speaking publicly on the recently released photos by Jonathan Leder to avoid giving him publicity. But I’ve had enough,” she wrote, continuing to claim that “five out of the now hundreds of released photos were used for what they were intended: an artful magazine shoot back in 2012.”
She does not name the magazine.
“These photos being used w/out my permission is an example of exactly the opposite of what I stand for: women choosing when and how they want to share their sexuality and bodies,” Ratajkowski concluded.
The 25-year-old has long been an advocate for women’s rights, particularly in regard to women being able to publicly display sexuality without judgment.
In that very magazine, Ratajkowski wrote an essay arguing that men and women are perceived differently regarding their sexuality.
“My guy friends don’t think twice about whether this shirt or that cologne will make them seem attention seeking,” she wrote. “The truth is that both groups want to be noticed. Yet we view a man’s desire for attention as a natural instinct; with a woman, we label her a narcissist.”
To make this point, she compared public reactions to both Mick Jagger and Madonna.
Look at pop culture: Mick Jagger is 73, and he still sometimes wears his shirt open and gyrates onstage. We understand that this is a part of his performance and artistic brand. Meanwhile, when Madonna, who is 58 and a revolutionary in that same kind of artistic sexuality, wears a sheer dress to the Met Gala, critics call her “a hot mess” who’s “desperate.” But isn’t she just making one of her signature political statements about female sexuality (and, incidentally, about our ageist, sexist culture too)? In any case, they are both performers who undoubtedly like attention. So why does Madonna get flak for it while Jagger is celebrated?
“Women should be allowed to be themselves and live the way they want to,” she concluded.
Ratajkowski hasn’t spoken out about the book, which will be released in December, beyond her tweets. Several outlets have reached out to both Leder and Imperial Pictures, neither of whom have responded.
See Ratajkowski’s tweets below.
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