Dmitry Kuklin – Girl on the bridge (2010)

I like the fact that when Kuklin photographs nudes, he mixes up it–featuring both men and women.

On top of nudes, he works with landscapes and more traditional portraits.

His work is all mostly middling–except for this, which is so effing exquisite it manages to transcend its many flaws.

Coming from me that’s saying a lot as I am normally prone to throwing up a little in my mouth when middling image makers embrace alternative process–in this case: cyanotype–in an effort to attribute some sense of distinction to otherwise mediocre work.

In Kuklin’s case the cyanotype gambit pays off–not due to luck so much as a result of working squarely within the confines and expectations established by art historical tradition, i.e. he’s intimately familiar with the history of portraiture and landscape as themes for visual depiction.

To me: it’s obvious that he lack formal training. The above, for example: if you squint and tune out everything that makes it so compelling you’ll not that  the way you can’t see her right arm is super awkward and distracting, the way she’s sitting perpendicular to the bridge is also not entirely compositionally effective given the disbursed negative space. (In addition: you can argue that her right leg is distracting, too–but I thought it was trailing off the bridge into dark water at first. Clearly that’s the effect Kuklin’s going for but there’s no way the water would be higher than the bridge given her position.)

However, the expression and the over-exposure of her left shoulder separates her from the background, this is counter-intuitive given the other lighting cues but actually serves to balance the highlights in the foreground–her skin and underwear, the shoes in the mid-ground and the rhizomatic grasses and their mid-tones in the background.

It’s also charming that she has and seems completely oblivious too the hole in the crotch of her knickers.

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