Mike Spears is a Brooklyn-based photographer whose colorful and playful imagery is infused with a provoking — and sometimes subtle — eroticism. To some, this may seem like a dubious statement, for while several of his photographs depict women in various states of undress, others are seemingly innocent landscapes and still life pictures of flowers and fruit. However, there is something enticing about hands cradling a sliced papaya with its glistening, elliptic interior, or two spindly cacti curving around each other in an awkward embrace. Spears eroticizes such objects and scenery by framing them in a focused and particular manner that harnesses our attention and curiosity.
As Spears’ photography explores, eroticism is an unpredictable flow that is not always equated with naked bodies and/or sexuality. It can arise as feelings of alertness, attraction, or even revulsion; the tentacles lolling out of a raised hand, for example, generate both aversion and the suggestive, tactile sensation of wet flesh on flesh. His work follows a line of thinking that views desire as something that influences everything we create and perceive; as Gustav Klimt famously stated, “all art is erotic,” whether it was created with that intention, or whether we unconsciously inscribe our own desiring energy into it. When I asked Spears about the suggestiveness of his work, he expressed that he wants his “provocative photos to be more fun, thought-provoking, mysterious, [and] clever,” and not just “erotic” in the conventional sense (referring to nudes, for example). For him, a good photographer is someone who can skillfully capture an array of subjects while investing them all with a personal, artistic energy. In this way, eroticism is a byproduct of Spears’ work, arousing us via his diverse talent, humor, and attention to curious details.
Whether you read eroticism into it or not, Spears’ work is exciting and immersive. When he’s not shooting photographs in his local haunt of Brooklyn, he features Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Check out his website, Tumblr, and Instagram for more examples of his varied work. (Via Juxtapoz)