Ashley Madison. Chances are you’ve heard of them from their online advertising presence with the famous slogan ‘Life is Short. Have an Affair’. A tempting offer for those in relationships that may not be as rosy as they initially had thought. Regardless of your moral and ethical standpoint on this, there is a underlying story that had Ashley Madison wishing for a bit of privacy of its own. Back in the Summer of 2015, a group of internet vigilantes called ‘The Impact Team’ made a public claim that they had compromised Ashley Madison user base information. This immediately hit the news as the confidentiality of Ashley Madison’s users were at risk of being exposed. The group demanded the immediate shutting down of Ashley Madison. When this demand was not met, they proved their claim to not be a bluff, and dumped over 25 gigabytes of user data, emails, and other personal documents onto the web. Ashley Madison had its laundry hung out to dry.
While many initially claimed this hack of Ashley Madison as a win for the virtuous and righteous, the damage was laid at the feet of the global public. Divorce lawyers started seeing an influx of money, politicians slunk into hiding, and two confirmed suicides were attributed to the leak. The effects of this event are still being felt today, and Ashley Madison paid a 11.2 million dollar settlement for the privacy breach.
But this didn’t stop the president of Ashley Madison, Ruben Buell. After the leak, the site took on a similar, but different role. Their advertising for ‘Life is Short. Have an Affair’ simmered down, but never fully dissolved. Users slowly started coming back to the site, with a wobbly trust for its new security systems. With the vacuum being filed, Dallas certainly did its part. Dallas was recently ranked as the THIRD highest city in America for Ashley Madison users. To put it in perspective, Dallas is not the third largest city in the US by population…its ninth.
View the full story on the Dallas Observer HERE written by Paige Skinner.
This is where I came in. My assignment was to create a front cover for Dallas Observer’s story on Ashley Madison. Based on all the information above, a few things came to mind when I imagined the cover.
The first was by these two images. The image on the left with my hand covering my face was originally from a 365 self-portrait project I did back in 2011. The second image on the right was from a recent project wherein I shot for a fashion spread in California.
I wanted to combine these new and old photos together to create something illusional, but eye catching when people passed by the stands. It only made sense to me to create an overlay image, similar to a double exposure, to portray this shot.
It evoked feelings of shock, surprise, and concern to me at the time, so I wanted to draw from that emotion.
After putting out an instagram story looking for models, I came across @roseypears. What drove me to her was her lips. Giant, luxurious, bold lips immediately earned her the part. With the help of a stylist @ashgstyle, and a make up artist @ruthmlanda, we pulled the shoot together in my photo studio in Deep Ellum. It was a simple project, but one that left me feeling satisfied. It fulfilled my desire to create conceptual work, just how I had started photography many years ago.