Mathieu Vladimir AlliardNicole Pollard (2013)

Such editorial-fashion portraiture is not my cuppa Joe. This though, I can’t get out of my goddamn head.

It’s the asymmetrical picked at nailpolish on her right thumb, the textured trim on her knickers, the way the light makes her hipbones look uneven, the mole above her navel, the contrast between the cream color of her bra against the sickly white of her skin somehow balancing against the dark background to create a strange vibrancy.

But it’s really the strangely intense blue-eyed stare somewhere between knowing, asking and boredom that is most captivating. I do not know what Ms. Pollard is thinking but I really, really, really would love to know.

Expressions are what elevates Alliard’s work above the paint-by-numbers editorial-fashion crap. His sitters usually appear edgily defiant and half feral.

A similar mien shows up in Ms. Pollard’s work. It’s less overt but she appears matter-of-fact, in control and as if she is prepared to give it to you with both barrels if anyone so much as thinks about giving her shit.

Somehow what Alliard customarily seeks and what Pollard offers, cancel each other out here. In the resulting void, something unexpected happens.

The single substantial criticism I have is #skinnyframebullshit. The only compositional logic governing the use of a vertical frame is to facilitate slimming–which is unnecessary and fucking stupid. Ms. Pollard is quite gorgeous but she’s fucking skinny. The bra straps hanging off her shoulders accomplish the desired purpose well-enough and do not require backup. Not to mention, the image would been moodier for landscape orientation as well as adding weight to the oddness of the expression.

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