Andrew V. PashisRed Clover Meadow (2008)

This isn’t a good photo–the composition is more concerned with getting the shot than rendering the scene in a clear and legible fashion.

Plus, I’m really not a fan of simulation, fakery or pretense in depictions of sexuality.

However, neither trait prevents me from outright adoring this image and it’s audacity certainly helps with that. The sort of devil may care presentation reminds me that some of the best sex I’ve ever had has featured a comparable setting–i.e. a place that is exceedingly public yet simultaneously secluded enough to render the chance of getting caught with pants down or dress up is not absent but small enough to justify the risk.

The rest of Pashis’ work is significantly more thoughtful than the above. It’s possible to see the broad strokes of the visual it-factor that marks most if not all Eastern European and Russian work so that you can spot it forty yards out. The feeling that nudity although culturally mired to a degree with sexuality is more a by product of the intensity of surviving the harsh winters. A matter-of-factness about the mad desire to soak up sun with as much skin as possible during the white heat of summer.

But whereas someone like Mukhin seems charged with a certain higher octane vitality when his work witnesses the more transgressive features of Russian youth culture or someone Evgeny Mokhorev’s likely inappropriately edgy fixation on young bodies as the locus of a darker yet also truer sexual freedom, Pashis is more openly voyeuristic, classically inspired, contrived and at times unapologetically aggressive in his presentation.

Although mad props are in order for his transformation of one of Ryan McGinley’s worst images into something fantastically crackling with the unfettered potential of being young, free and if not immune to consequence then aware that there’s no bending heaven so you might as well raise some hell.

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