Critique

Expertise: Tyra Bank’s Photography

In our column "Expertise" we tell about celebrities who, besides their main occupation, are seriously involved with photography, and ask professional photographers to evaluate their work. In today's issue: Foto.ua editor Aleksandr Lyapin talks about photographs of top-model and TV host Tyra Banks.

Tyra Banks
age 40Tyra Banks,

Born on the 4th of December 1973 in Inglewood (California) in a family of computer consultant Donald Banks and photographer NACA Caroline London. Has been in modeling business since age 15. As a 24-year old, became a recipient of the Supermodel of the Year Award on VH1 music channel, the same year became the first African American woman shot for Victoria’a Secret catalogue advertisement.

Career

Tyra became famous while working as a model in Paris, Milan, London, Tokyo, and NYC, but her true breakthrough into stardom was her TV appearances. In 2008 Tyra received Daytime Emmy Award for her Tyra Banks Show. Today she host her own reality show America’s Top Model and co-hosts True Beauty with Ashton Kutcher (a show about physically beautiful people who behave in ugly ways). In 2009 Tyra accepted a special award from organization GLAAD for raising awareness to the problems within LGBT community in her programs and shows.

In 1998 Tyra Banks wrote a book titled “Tyra’s Beauty, Inside and Out”, that aimed for the audience of women to help them discover their own natural beauty. In 2004 Banks pursued her vocal talents and came out with a single Shake Ya Body.

Tyra starred in Michael Jackson’s video “Black or White”, George Michael’s “Too Funky”, Tina Turner’s “Love Thing” and Mobb Deep’s “Trife Life”. Since the 90-ties she played several secondary roles in movies and sitcoms, including “Coyote Ugly”. Critics gave her praise for her portrayal of Tyra Banks in 2008 film “Soldiers of Misfortune”.

In her reality show “America’s Top Model” this multitalented TV host, singer and actress also revealed herself as a photographer. Each season Tyra personally performs photo shoots which are later evaluated by a panel of the show judges. And naturally, with quite a praise. However, it appears that for now Tyra doesn’t invest much effort into developing her photographic skills.
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“It’s apparent that to her this is all just fun and games. As a photographer Tyra is awful”
Alexander Lyapin
age 57Alexander Lyapin,

Born in Kiev, graduated from Kiev Pedagogical Institute, Faculty of History. Worked as a photojournalist for international agency GP, for ten years had been an editor-in-chief for newspaper “Evening News”. Presently is a head editor for internet magazine Foto.ua, author of numerous articles on photography.

Cutie Tyra Banks entered the world of modeling business not through some sensational photo session shot by some famed photographer, but exclusively through her dedication and persistence. After climbing to the top Tyra got bored and threw herself into other fields with her usual workoholism. Clearly, she had not been satisfied by earning money with mere demonstration of her body. She studies, writes books, stars in movies and music videos with cool singers, becomes a TV legend opening doors for young girls into the world of high fashion. But, despite her achievements in modeling, here she has hard time reaching her full potential. It’s apparent that to her this is all just fun and games. As a photographer Tyra is awful.


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Tyra won’t leave behind any great photos. She doesn’t bother to create an image, or use inner psychological corrections, or work with the mannerisms of her models. She didn’t connect paths with any of the brilliant photographers. She is being guided by a brilliant art-director and stylist, and she shoots according to the briefings she gets. She is hardly destined to become a truly great photographer. But is it really that important to her? She’s been doing what she loves all her life. If she gets tired of something – she finds another entertainment for herself.

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