There’s this party photographer, named KIRILLWASHERE. He’s a pretty cool guy. Not “cool” as in someone you’d want to hang out with, because they’ll watch your back for you in the shady underground casino or lie to your fiancé about what happened at the bachelor party. I mean “cool” as in, he hangs out in Paris with A-Trak and is on the guestlist at clubs. Like, that kind of cool. Anyways, besides doing party pics, à la Cobrasnake-circa-2005, KWH, an admittedly good photographer, started his own little tumblr meme, called “Champagne Facials”.
Take a second to peruse the site. I’ll wait. Oh, you don’t want to open up another tab on your smartphone’s web-browser? Ok. I’ll take a second to describe it to you. It’s pictures, apparently taken at New York City clubs, of pretty New York City-girls getting champagne poured all over their faces. There’s something vaguely sexual about these photos. And by “vaguely”, I mean extremely. If you look at these pictures and don’t immediately think of the money shot at the end of most porn, you haven’t seen much porn (or you have just have seriously non-traditional taste in porn).
Anyways, being the astute generational critic that I am, I couldn’t just look at a sensational site such as this and NOT consider the cultural implications of the thing. Here’s a few observations about what “Champagne Facials” means:
1. Party photography is still a thing. I could have sworn it died with Myspace. Apparently not.
2. You can make people do just about anything if you ask with a camera. People really like getting their photos taken, a generational thing that came from camera-phones and social media and wanting to be noticed. In an interview with Complex Mr. WASHERE even says, “For some reason, when you’re holding a camera and a bottle of champagne, people listen to anything you tell them to do.”
3. Starting a Tumblr meme is easy. Mix equal parts sexy girls, pornography allusions and New York City cultural cache, and you’ve got yourself a thing.
4. Our dumb, drunken youth will be SOOO digitally documented. Someday, when we’re all in our seventies, we’ll be able to log in to our old social media accounts and see pictures of us at our drunkest/sloppiest. Imagine being seventy and being able to see a picture of yourself at a club getting champagne all over your face. How are you going to feel? Proud? Wistful? Regretful? Hopeful about humanity? Who knows?
5. To people who drink in bars or at sweaty, no-cover dance parties, real “Clubs” look like another world. Except for LA or Miami or Vegas, are there any other US Cities where there would be enough pretty girls, drunk at clubs, who would let you poor champagne on their faces and take a picture of it? No. Seriously. I’m asking.
6. Gender roles are still pretty weird in North America. If this continues to catch on, eventually someone will do a parody site, where it’s just, like, fat dudes getting hit with the champagne in the face, instead of pretty ladies. And it will be hailed as a subversive cultural juxtaposition highlighting the inherent visual sexism in this meme. Or something.
7. Sometimes the most successful ideas are the simplest. Or the dumbest. Either way, this could have been you, IF you were a nightlife photographer in New York City. And just little bit douchier.
8. Feminism didn’t work. Or maybe “Champagne Facials” means feminism DID work. Despite having a mother who was sociologist with a focus on women’s studies, I know nothing about feminism.
So there you go. I’m not going to say where I really land on this Champagne Facial thing, whether it is terrible or sexist or funny or just dumb. It’s not worth getting worked up over. It’s a just a thing that there is and in six months time, the internet will have forgotten about it, too. In the meantime, if you or someone you know has been the subject (or victim) of one these photos, please hit me up at yranadult @ gmail. I have some questions for you.
Henry Goldman is the founder of yr an adult and doesn’t even like champagne.