Jeff Bark. from the Abandoned series.

If Jeff Bark were a cocktail, you’d make him by mixing two parts David LaChappelle with three parts Gregory Crewdson and then garnish liberally with some Maria Van Oosterwijck.

*If you do not have Gregory Crewdson on hand, you can make some by reducing Jeff Wall’s brilliant innovation and studied craft to a syrupy, cloyingly cliched confection.

Casting aside my distaste for the antecedents, Bark’s work is nice. Hell, if nothing else at least a quarter of the Tumblr’s I follow have re-blogged this post.

But I think this post–presenting as it does these two images as a diptych instead of their inclusion in progression on Bark’s site–emphasizes identity politics in depiction of gender in images. Although Bark certainly needs to be commended for his equal use of male-bodied and female-bodied models, his work does not strike me as being as preoccupied with matters of gender depiction as these images would lead the casual viewer to believe.

A shame really, since their presentation here manages to be both straight-forward, unassuming and yet still disarmingly intimate.

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