This will be short as we’ve addressed Kendall Jenner as a photographer instead of a muse before. In 2016, the runway Kardashian decided to move into the foray of being behind the camera, and given her celebrity credentials and experience in front of them, was given the opportunity to do so. Much to the chagrin of many, she was, measurably successful, getting hired for editorial spreads and covers shooting for LOVE magazine.
Objectively, her work is good – intimate and different than what you see donning the front of most magazines. What was the secret? Well, while her familiarity with her subjects (Kylie Jenner, Kaia Gerber) and her modeling experience helped, her choice of medium didn’t hurt either. Kendall went with film.
[RELATED: Kendall Jenner Trades In Her Cover Status For a Camera | Gets Massive Editorial As A Photographer]
One can assume that Jenner had every camera imaginable at her disposal so her choice to go for film is an interesting one, and even more interesting is that she chose an old –but vaunted– Contax T2 point and shoot. That decision has had consequences both good and bad for film and film cameras. According to Bellamy Hunt to TheLily, otherwise known as Japan Camera Hunter,
“Because of their popularity in the past year or two, prices have tripled, quadrupled, particularly for the Contax T2. When she got seen with that camera, it just went mental.”
Jenner isn’t the only celeb to carry the Contax as Kiko Mizuhara, Sofia Coppola, and Frank Ocean are also oft seen with it. Hunt claims where he once sold them for $200 a piece, now it’s more like $1000-1500, and that’s not even the case anymore because the availability just isn’t there to meet the demand.
It is a bit curious that it’s this particular camera that has caught so much attention, but it’s by no means the only point and shoot film camera that has been elevated to iconic status by a celeb. The now-disgraced Terry Richardson was famous for carrying around and shooting major campaigns for the likes of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition with nothing but his Yashica T4.
Of course there are cries from the peanut gallery that she is treading on hallowed ground but I, personally, applaud it. She’s brining attention to film in a way those of use who love it without celebrity status could never do. Perhaps more of this could spawn a new surge in film products. Heck, maybe someone should send her an old Polaroid…
But in addition, it is very interesting though to see just how the reaction has snowballed, and it does give yet another reason to pause and reflect on the marketing efforts of major camera brands. To this day camera brands seem to choose successful photographers over celebrities to sell units, and perhaps when photography was more a technical niche endeavor this made the most sense. But I can’t help thinking that it just doesn’t anymore, not entirely anyway.
While many of us can appreciate the Joe McNally’s of the world (and we do), no one outside of focused photography education will know people like that, and as harsh as this sounds, the new generation coming up? The just don’t care. The new generation is looking for emotional connection and current relevancy over historic technique – and Kendall is proof in pudding of that. She’s part of them, after all.