Source unknown – Title Unknown (19XX)

This reminds me of both Man Ray’s pornographic self-portraits with Kiki De Montparnasse and Hans Bellmer’s test photos for the cover of L’histoire de l’oeil.

But it mirrors (along a vertical axis) the infamous Mapplethorpe photograph.

I’m fairly certain this post-dates the first two and predates the latter. As much as I admire Bellmer’s audacity in presenting the extremity of sexuality without ever losing site of the hunger for physical pleasure that motivates it and how much the clean minimial aesthetic of Mapplethorpe’s image speaks to me, I think this may be if not the better image out of the aforementioned cohort, it is the most interesting.

There’s a way in which it contradicts itself. The intimacy of the extreme and extremely graphic close up with the bracelet dangling from the wrist–at once both private (an intimate document) and public (a jewelry advert). There’s the way the hand on the left hand on the leg can be seen bracing with an implicit violence to administer greater force or a calming/reassuring means of facilitating connection through an intense physical experience.

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