The series Personal Disclosure investigates the body as portrayed through contemporary photography while drawing on historically baroque notions of the narrative image. Borrowing the formal language of painting, the production values of commercial photography, and the tactile properties of sculpture, these carefully constructed pieces become scenes of heightened emotion, captured within timeless mythologies.
The photographs portray bodies caught as if mid-dance; an arching back, a tilted neck, a torso suggestively bending backwards, skin precisely lit. Printed at near life-scale, the scenes are swathed in sumptuous fabrics, centering the body in a narrowly abstract but rich theatrical space. The heightened scale of the images forces the viewer to both stand back and read the tableaus as scenes from a frieze and simultaneously inhabit the same space as these photographic beings.
The lightness of the bodies’ movements in the photographs are in contrast to the heavy physicality of the framing and printing; the images hang in welded steel boxes and are printed onto faintly opaque acrylic with only moments, or rather isolated crops, that stand out, in focus and printed on waxed paper. These crops, which are framed into the larger acrylic image with steel, act as physical manifestations of the artist’s ability to direct focus within a large scale print, giving the viewer both a grand and an intimate experience in the same image.
Mostly rectangular, the crops nod to the glowing screen of the computer and the infinite possibilities that lie within one image. The inverted gesture of a reflective ghost (the acrylic) offering only a small rectangle of clarity (the print), speaks to intentionality and the hand—or rather control—of the image maker in a digital age. The Personal Disclosure series directly acknowledges the power of high-production image making and plays with the well-rehearsed habits of our consumption of media.
The ability to curate one’s own information flow has led the average consumer to live in cropped world, one that only shows – or hides - the elements which the viewer wants to be aware of.
Like Yoram Roth’s past works, the Personal Disclosure series relates the shared aspirational ideals of both modern commercial photography and religious iconography; each offers a clear picture of the unattainable ideal — the perfect being. The images in this series engage the chasm of uncertainty; the sales pitch without a product, a model without clothes, the ghost of desire monumentally told. The viewer is led to search for meaning within the crops.
Blending the tool box of staged photography with academic painting, the bodies explode outwards towards the viewer without blemish. Well lit and retouched in a classical landscape, the sets and styling are meticulously rendered in sketches before the camera ever appears. The process relies on the ensemble cast of fashion; the stylist, the makeup artist, the lighting specialist, and lastly, the model-subjects who become the only flexible element within these stages. Their bodies push and pull towards an off-stage light, giving the images a sense of freedom despite restraints: the model battling her staged universe just as a dancer must wrestle with gravity.
Personal Disclosure twists staged photography into the rope of a tug of war between meaning and aesthetics. The models used, extraordinary in their appeal, tease the borders of art, their allure playing into a blurry marketplace where lust tempts and meaning is often found only after the guilt of enjoying the photographed body. The early baroque style and contemporary staging of these images leads the viewer into the thorny overlapping edges of morality and art history.