Advance peeks of Playboy’s forthcoming March issue (on sale next Friday) have been released, revealing their first centerfold who leaves some of her clothes on: model and actress Dree Hemingway, daughter of Mariel Hemingway, who posed for the magazine in 1982.
Shot by Angelo Pennetta, the spread has been somewhat complimented by David Segal at the New York Times, who got an advance heads up about the issue, just as the paper did about the magazine’s decision to drop full-on nudity in the first place. To be quite clear, Hemingway is still mostly nude, using what Segal calls “strategic concealment” to hide the parts of her body Playboy would once have laid bare.
Ms. Hemingway and other featured women in the issue are unretouched. Playboy photographs have long been triumphs of technology, giving models a sheen of perfection that is unobtainable without lots of carefully placed lights and aggressive airbrushing. That is over. Some images in the March issue are grainy, and all feel more impromptu than posed. The magazine has adopted the unadorned, point-and-shoot aesthetic made famous by American Apparel ads and fashion photographers like Terry Richardson.
Paradoxical as it may sound, Playboy has undergone major cosmetic surgery and emerged from the operating room looking more natural.
Those perhaps more skeptical will doubt that these images have been “unretouched,” a claim the company has made about their pictures of women before. (It should also be noted that Terry Richardson has shot for Playboy numerous times and his images are anything but natural. Overly lit, perhaps.) If Playboy’s photos look more natural than they did before, they also look considerably more like those used by its competitors Esquire and GQ, with some of the shots bearing a striking resemblance to those favored during Kate Lanphear’s brief tenure at Maxim.
The cover, on the other hand, was shot by Theo Wenner (another photographer who, like Richardson, is favored by magazines such as Rolling Stone—owned by Wenner’s father, Jann—that are popular in the demo of young men Playboy is going after). It features model Sarah McDaniel, who’s using #socialmedia, seen taking a sexy selfie of herself and sending it to an unknown source (jk, it’s you, the deserving reader of this issue Playboy hopes millions will buy) via Snapchat. The desire that editors have to try to take stuff that lives exclusively on the web and make it work in print is apparently one that won’t die.
“We’ve produced a number of memorable covers in the 62 year history of Playboy, and we think the cover for the upcoming issue will be remembered for years to come,” the magazine writes, continuing: “The cover is also designed to present a more intimate experience for the reader. ‘The idea was to look at me from a boyfriend’s perspective,’ Sarah says.”
The magazine will also feature model Myla Dalbesio, who was asked “to visually demonstrate how to shoot a woman by shooting photographs of herself.”
Hemingway might not be a household name yet (she is, as all profiles must note of her, the great-granddaughter of Ernest) but she is definitely the kind of cool new face and body Playboy wants to feature. When you think about how their final nude centerfold just last month was Pamela Anderson, the world does seem forever changed—until you realize they’re just catching up to it.
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Images via Angelo Pennetta and Theo Wenner/Playboy