A run-of-the-mill freelance photographer hits pay-dirt when a young lady with no experience knocks on his studio door wanting to be a model. There is nothing terribly special about her, except for her eyes. Nevertheless, her advertising photographs sell products, and soon she is on billboards and shop-windows everywhere, and everyone wants to know her and meet her.
The trouble is, she only works in very mysterious circumstances. She will only model for the one photographer, in his studio, with no onlookers. She also has one important rule: don't follow her out the door after work. The photographer is making money off of her hand over fist, but the temptation to be with her outside of the studio becomes greater and greater, even if it means the end of the gravy-train.
Read the story straight, then read it again and consider modern advertising, on the TV and the Internet, Google and Facebook, click-ads and Siri, and the like. Written in 1949, The Girl with the Hungry Eyes has never been as prescient as it is now.
The Girl with the Hungry EyesThere are vampires and vampires, and not all of them suck blood.
. . . within the context of Leiber’s short story and the notion of advertising that he portrays, the vampiric Girl comes to allegorically represent advertising and its consumerist nature.
Graham Sleight‘‘The Girl with the Hungry Eyes’’ is as close as I’ve seen in his work to a kind of self-analysis, and even that tries to have things both ways, both registering the objectification of women and enjoying it.1)