Claudia Jares – [↑] El Jardin Prohibido #8 (2015); [←] 7 (2011); [→] Untitled (2006)

Remember how I’m always going on and on about how there must be something being added to the water in Poland because of all the top-notch work being made there at present?

South America seems to have something similar going on.

Jares, like Paula Aparicio, hails from Buenos Aires–a city I’m hoping to finally visit next year.

The first two things I notice about her work pertains to influences. It is impossible to look at the uppermost image here and not think of Nobuyoshi Araki. And you can’t browse through more than a handful of her color images without flashing back to the hyper-stylized, violent cacophony of color and garish production design as an aesthetic intended to question whether ugliness and beauty isn’t more of a cycle than a spectrum that is Floria Sigismondi’s oeurve.

But I’m not interested in doing more than pointing to those names, because–in truth–although Jares definitely shares with both the aforementioned artists what I’ve previous referred to an omnivorous eye, the point of her work is less about proving a point (which in the case of Araki might be seen as proving that the deviant and depraved desires of the flesh can be beautiful to behold; or with Sigismondi, that with the right attention and focus, the ugly may be rendered if not exactly beautiful then aesthetically compelling).

To put too fine a point on it perhaps, Araki and Sigismondi make work designed to get the viewer off–figuratively in Sigismondi’s case, more often than not literally in Araki’s.

And it feels to me like Jares is far more interested in those indelible signifiers–the way already taut muscles begin to spasm in winter light, a stray hair looped and plastered with sweat and spit against the spit below a trembling lower lip; that moment of unplanned, accidental eye contact that sends you plunging over the edge sooner than you expected. Those serendipitous moments when someone comes, and then the force of it causes a chain reaction where in response the other partner comes and them coming only makes the first partner’s orgasm intensify.

There are little miraculous moments in each image that Jares’ makes–the rain coating the woman’s skin in the first image (not to mention the stunning contrast between skin tone and tile); the way in the second image the shadowed side of her face both dips to where their is shadow without texture but you can still see her eye (and eyelight) in the murk; and in maybe one of the best examples I’ve encountered in at least six months of a vertical oriented composition that should 120% be a skinny frame but also consider how the parabola of light on the back of his neck and shoulders adds such dynamic dimensional to the frame. (Also, back dimples…I’m a sucker for them.)

Or, more apporpriately, here’s Jares on the relationship between the erotic and her creative practice:

     My making erotic photography comes as no surprise to me: I’ve been drawn to the erotic since I was a teenager, drawn by the secrets and the mystery behind those images and its characters.
     Back from school at my grandmother’s house I would step in the bathroom where, hidden between the towels, lay an old porno, filled with sensual and sensitive images, and romance. It must have belonged to my grandfather, and thus to later generations…
     … I used to feed upon those pictures, wondering on the meaning and form of orgasm, masturbation… After twenty minutes my grandma would call out for me; the food was served.
     I’ve always been into sensual images, objects, clothing, shoes, stockings, which triggered ideas. I cut and glued to my bedroom walls pictures of Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin, Claudia Sánchez, Marlon Brando, Robert Plant, Jim Morrison.
     My music… was my kingdom, my shelter, the place where every feeling, every sensation ran through my body. It made my way into photography, and, considering my kinky teenage inclinations, it was only natural to combine the carnal with the power of creation.
     I’ve always enjoyed telling stories through my pictures. Enclosed, in the dark, at night… I’m thrilled by the unknown, the unlit, the irrational, the supernatural.
     The women that have worked with me know and understand that this sensitivity is with me in every job, be it a portrait, fashion, or an erotic shoot.
     There’s always a sense of eroticism in all my pieces. I’ve been lucky enough to work with people that have allowed me to take a glimpse of their souls.
      I often work with women, since there is a sort of symbiosis, of ease, encouraging, pleasantly gratifying for both of us. As a photographer I take pictures as I would take them to myself, which I frequently do. My strength lies in the artist, in what I am made of, a woman, a body of emotions.

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