Click on the picture for a bigger, higher res version. It’s worth it trust me.
After staring at this picture for too long i decided to look into it a little more. First I found out it was the cover of a greatest hits album put out in 1986 on Island Records called ‘Island Life’ (get it?). The album itself is a decent introduction to what Grace Jones did as a singer but is too full of 70’s european disco schlock to listen all the way through.
Next thing I found out was that the position she is in is a ballet move called an Arabesque and that while it certainly looks impressive it is also impossible.
The picture was taken by a photographer named Jean Paul Goude who saw an intriguing subject in the model/ actress/ singer. He notes about that picture that “…unless you are extraordinarily supple, you cannot do this arabesque. The main point is that Grace couldn’t do it, and that’s the basis of my entire work: creating a credible illusion.”
Goude photographed Jones in a variety of positions using boxes to hold up parts of her body and then combined the images in a montage that eventually became the amazing image that you see above. Here is the mock up:
Do I feel duped? Not at all. I think Goude did an amazing job especially considering it was all done before the Photoshop times of today when, with every amazing image, someone asks “Is that photoshopped?”.