Some Images are More Impossible than Others

By Pauline van Mourik Broekman, 10 September 2000

Phaidon must be laughing all the way to the bank with The Impossible Image, one of the most ‘serious’ (or rather seriously curated) looks at fashion photography’s digital dark side. Built on the skeleton structure of a kind of hi-concept surface surrealism, the book is fleshed out with milestones like Solve Dundsbø’s polygon Pygmalion ‘Wired’ series, and more and less famous examples of digital imaging’s cosmetic applications (integration of bodies and landscapes, aquiline-ing features, sleek-ing skin etc.). The most striking thing this book offers, apart from hope of putting the Magritte industry out of business for a while, is further proof of art and fashion’s cohabitation in one imagistic – or media – space. On the very pretty face of it, the only remaining differentials are intention and theory, the latter of which is in this case (equally seriously) disappointing.

Pauline van Mourik Broekman <>

The Impossible Image // Ed. Mark Sanders, Phil Poynter, Robin Derrick // Phaidon Press // 192 pp ISBN 0-7148-3967-1