Memo Pad: Really It's Art... Picture This... Its Always L.A.'s Fault...

How do you burnish a tarnished brand?

Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan

Photo By WWD Staff

REALLY, IT'S ART: How do you burnish a tarnished brand? Well, if you're Mark Healy and you left GQ to edit Penthouse in the age of waning lad mags and Internet porn, you hope marquee photographers will do it. Having Terry Richardson shoot the magazine's first perforated centerfold was the initial coup, possibly testing whether the usual arguments about the tactile and visual particularity of print and quality photography extend to skin mags. The July issue features Richardson's photographs of Sasha Grey, the 19-year-old porn star who was the subject of a notorious Los Angeles magazine profile and whose accompanying commentary sounds like it's been ripped from Susie Bright: "The more I watched porn, the more I saw an opportunity to continue exploring my sexuality and pushing my own boundaries and finding new ways to define myself as a woman." (MySpace superstar Tila Tequila appears on the cover, since the liquor advertising in Penthouse precludes an under-21 cover model.)

"I'd been working on getting Terry in the magazine since before I left my own job," said Healy. "A magazine for young men in the year 2007 would be remiss not to try to get Terry in the magazine, to get his vision represented." At first, Richardson, most famous for his stark, aggressively erotic photos, was — perhaps not surprisingly — reluctant, according to Healy: "It seemed to me that he wanted to see some improvement before he came on board." Since leaving his post as GQ articles editor last October, Healy has redesigned the magazine, created a service section called Life on Top and brought back comics. "Obviously, [Richardson] doesn't want for work, but I think he wants a Penthouse that is cool and that has some energy and some creativity," Healy said. "That's good for him, and it's good for anybody who shoots the way he does." — Irin Carmon

Alec Soth has had his fill of fashion. "I'm done with fashion. It's back to real life," said the photographer, who has been shooting projects for W magazine, among others. The lensman was in Paris for the opening exhibit and launch of Magnum Photo's Fashion Magazine at the Jeu de Paume on Tuesday. However, the Minnesota native's moonlighting gig may have left him with some hard-to-shake fashion habits. "I was kind of getting used to all the assistants and all the art directors and all the pampering," he said with a smile. Soth's solo show at the Jeu de Paume is slated for next spring. — Emilie Marsh
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