Soapstones – foto para el nº de abril de 192 mag (2013)
I spend a lot of time thinking about the impetus for nudity in image making.
The easy answer is who doesn’t like looking at naked folks?
I think that’s a lazy and knee jerk explanation.
However, short of equally facile justifications (i.e. figure studies, ‘timelessness’ or porn), there’s precious few image makers who fixate on naked people and who also offer some sort of implicit notion of why the people in their images aren’t clothed.
Consider someone like Mona Kuhn who works primarily in nudist resorts skirting the Mediterranean. Or Traci Matlock, whose work when it involves nudity feels a little like the photographer is functioning like the person at a party who suggests everyone join in a game of strip poker and as soon as they’ve achieved near universal agreement, strips down before the game even starts to demonstrate a commitment to the journey and not the destination.
I have no idea who this Soapstones is–beyond that the person responsible for the photographs most likely uses male pronouns in self-identifying and seems to hail from Mexico.
The above probably isn’t the best image to illustrate my point about his work because it’s very staged and there’s a feeling that the two guys in the image probably weren’t already naked ahead of preparing to take it.
However, that’s the exception to the rule. Generally, you get the feeling that the image maker was less intrested in nudes as a subject and more interested in documenting the hijinks of his friends and acquaintances. But his friends and acquaintances are close knit enough that expectations for social propriety take a back seat to fully inhabiting the moment.