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‘Cosmopolitan’ Magazine Brings Sexy Back

Cosmopolitan recreates the covers of cheesy romance novels with real people

Cosmopolitan: Of course, everyone knows of the cheesy romance novel – the novelettish and sentimental literature made to tickle the senses, covers emblazoned with virile young men and young ladies in search of fierce love that are clearly marketed to woman with ‘healthy and active’ imaginations. Well, world renown and bestselling women’s magazine, Cosmopolitanhas recreated these covers using real, everyday people in an clever and amusing series that will definitely make you see their funny side. The ‘romance novel’ or ‘romantic novel’ is a literary genre. Novels of this type of genre fiction place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. Some scholars see precursors to the romance novel in literary fiction of the 18th and 19th centuries, including Samuel Richardson’s sentimental novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740) and the novels of Jane Austen. British company Mills and Boon began releasing escapist fiction for women in the 1930s. Their books were sold in North America by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd, which began direct marketing to readers and allowing mass-market merchandisers to carry the books. In North America, romance novels are the most popular literary genre, comprising almost 55% of all paperback books sold in 2004. The genre is also popular in Europe and Australia, and romance novels appear in 90 languages. Most of the books, however, are written by authors from English-speaking countries, leading to what is deemed an Anglo-Saxon perspective in the fiction. Despite the popularity and widespread sales of romance novels, the genre has attracted significant derision, skepticism and criticism. Erotica is a term used to describe scenes in the novel that are risqué but not pornographic and ‘Romance erotica’ seems to be on the rise as more women explore this new sub-genre – You only have to look at the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey...enough said. Enjoy!

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Natalie Shau – Lost in Wonderland

Natalie Shau's dark, strange and surreal world

Below are a selection of the latest creations by Natalie Shau, a photographer, artist and graphic designer who combines illustrations and photographs to lead us into a dark, strange and surreal world populated with beautiful creatures. Natalie Shau is a mixed media artist and photographer based in Vilnius, Lithuania who has an amazing talent in fashion and portrait photography as well as digital illustration and photo art. Coupled with her personal work, Natalie also creates artwork and photography for musicians, the theatre, fashion magazines, writers and advertisements. Her specialties include digital art, painting, CD artwork, photo manipulation, book covers, illustration, CD design, collage, digital painting, art direction, production design, advertising and fashion photography. Her digital masterpieces have graced the pages of French Vogue during a Lydia Courteille jewellery campaign and her extensive client list of music labels includes Island Def Jam, Sony Music Entertainment, Century Media, and Nuclear Blast. Gothic horror fiction, fairy tales and Russian classics (e.g. Dostoevsky and Gogol) are among the influences she lists for her surreal and strange creations. Natalie Shau uses a range of media, mixing photography, digital painting and 3D and the quality she seeks is “at once fragile and powerful”. “My works are digital mixed media. I mix photography, 3D elements, vector elements and digital drawing. I also enjoy creating surreal and fashion photography. My photography and digital works are often surreal portraits of women; however, I love portraying animals sometimes.” Natalie Shau regards her works as ‘pretty motionless and doll-like’, but they express the burden of waiting, and the inner conflict that boils within the characters. You can sense this in their expressions or in some contradictory elements or symbols hidden in the work. When questioned whether there is a reason that most of her illustrations and images are of women, Shau notes that she does not choose her characters, they choose her – she’s unable to explain how this happens. Her influences are many however Alexander McQueen, Eiko Ishioka, Trevor Brown are amongst them. Describing her creative process, Shau reveals “I have a flash of an idea or vision and, after exploring it in my mind, I try to sketch it and see if I can express it. I collect all the materials I need for that, take portraits, photograph elements, find any elements needed, and then I start working on a piece.” Take a look at Natalie Shau’s beautiful work below and be sure to visit her website:

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