Katy Perry's newly released Prism album cover came out on Good Morning America this morning and it's gorgeous. It's effervescent. It looks like she's a hippie fairy in a field of sunflowers. She's wrapped in what looks like a cloak made of morning dew and her hair has been tousled by the gentle licks of the early morning breeze. Yet, this completely sweet and unassuming album cover was shot by none other than edgy (to say the least) New York City photographer Ryan McGinley.
For those unfamiliar with McGinley's work, one of his major hallmarks in unabashed nudity. His aesthetic is often raw and not conducive to a mainstream album cover for an artist at Perry's level. This is a man who had included images of penises expelling semen in his exhibitions. A man whose subjects are, more often than not, as nude as the day they were born. A man whose latest series "Animals" includes various wild creatures resting (and nesting) in his models' more private parts. In what world is this photographer found shooting Perry's album cover before it is released on the Jumbo-tron in the middle of Times Square on Good Morning America?
This is not to say McGinley's not qualified. If anything, he's over qualified. His bold photography paired with the music industry is a match made in heaven — just not the Katy Perry section of the music industry. What's more is that while Perry's Prism cover is beautiful, flawless, even, employing McGinley is a bit like using a sledgehammer with a toothpick would do.
She's not really nude (that iridescent wrap counts as something) and even if she was, the image is only from her shoulders up. McGinley does have shots of models and subjects in a similar capacity, but they're just as raw as his nudes thanks to his ability to capture them in an almost ruthless manner. His photos see all, even the things his subjects don't want him to. Perry inherently needs to control what the public sees of her, even in this album cover, which only has the semblance of openness.
Look, the cover is beautiful. It just seems like a waste of McGinley's style and talents to use him in such a glossy, fabricated, commercial endeavor.