Mark Twain once noted, “Man is the only animal that blushes, or needs to”, indicating more than just a lack of fur separates us from our fellow mammals. Swiss photographer Vicky Althaus is known for taking risks to achieve unique scenes for capture, but her newest series offers something even more primal.
Going beyond setting the human body in a natural environment, Althaus has set her subject in what appears to be the familiar scene of a natural history museum. This combination, rather than simply pairing a model with live or taxidermied animals in a more natural state, calls into question our ideas of conservation, our relationship to animals, as well as our relationship to our own bodies. Offering very little titillation, the model’s nudity mirrors the animals, though the interaction appears off-putting, enhanced by the dimly lit room and drab staging. Perhaps the most interesting observation is that the nude model, merely stopping in and solely as a visitor, appears as unnatural as the stuffed animals that are meant to portray some example of our natural world. (via juxtapoz)
New York artist Bill Durgin’s photographs reflect a fascination with the body as form. The complex figurations, undulating arrangements of flesh, as the body seems to collapse onto it self, image an almost abstracted figure lacking appendages and hair. The physical structure becomes not just a shell, but a moving sculpture of skin, muscle, fat, and bone.
The gesture within each photograph is created through exploring his own physical limitations and collaborative improvisation with dancers and performers. Often Durgin will come up with a pose and demonstrate it and then ask the model to repeat or respond to it. Each pose transmogrifies the figure towards abstraction; exaggerating or diminishing the skeletal structure until it approaches an amorphic form. Durgin wants the bodies to be recognized as bodies, but also to be detached from common perceptions of the figure. Bound within each singular view, the uncanny figures convey the body as both abject and marvelous.
I feel like I’m breaking the rules looking at Ukrainian photographer Alexander Alekseenko’s work in the office. Between the girl-on-girl action and the shirtless marauding men, I can’t help but blush. Alekseenko told Mint Magazine “I love spontaneous shots, stories and mostly all of my works are pretty much spontaneous.” Wait, if this is the kind of stuff that just happens in the Ukraine, I think we’ve found the next spring break hotspot. And it looks a whole lot classier than Cabo.