Aimery J. JoësselHolly Waterfall (2015)

Aspects of this are wonderful: the visible band and twisted straps of Holly’s bra, water droplets dotting her skin and the way her right hand is splayed against the rocks behind the falling water.

Overall, it’s underexposed–but given the motion blur of the water this was probably the slowest shutter speed Joëssel could use handheld–which suggests the underexposure was due to an overall lack of light instead of sloppy metering.

Personally, I would’ve preferred the contrast between the porous texture of the rocks vs the smooth compliment of water droplets against skin. But the picture suggests that it was not a situation where both were technically achievable.

I don’t think much of the rest of his work, honestly–but there is something to be said for identifying (correctly) and pursuing the better of two less than pristine options in a difficult setting.

David Meskhi – from When Earth Seems to Be Light series Title Unknown 2008.

Meskhi’s website presents his as a photographer preoccupied with athletes, skateboarders and soldiers. Shooting predominately flat black and white, his inclusion of occasional, irreverent bursts of color do nex to nothing to lessen the work’s dour murk.

By contrast– and as suggested by the title– his When Earth Seems to Be Light series is full or warmth and whimsy.

It’s maybe not good but it is undeniably more accessible than the other work showcased.

It is incomprehensible that this image does not appear on the site. Instead, another image of the same young woman–Anna, apparently is featured. The second image isn’t bad; it’s casual immediacy seems forced, as if it seeking to neuter the sentimental nostalgia.

And I see how someone could read the image I posted could as self-indulgently sentimental. It is a little; However, that’s not always a bad thing–arrive for the nostalgia, stay for the Art.

In this case, neither sentimentality or nostalgia pull me in. It’s the sheen of water droplets on her skin, the texture of her wet hair. And I absolutely love how she is turned away– it reminds me of the hypothesis posited by either Edward Snow or John Berger that the young woman in Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring is simultaneously turning toward and away from the viewer. (If you’ve got seven minutes to kill, check out: a physicist tackling this question.)

I confess that this image does cause me to lapse nostalgic. But that is due to the content more than anything pertaining to the execution. See although I am in my… er… well, further from my teens than I have ever been, I missed out on a lot of normal– at least for John Hughes movies–social rites of passage.

I played Spin the Bottle a handful of times but was always told that at least one of the people playing had promised my mom that they would make sure I didn’t play. I would beg and plead but there would always be a caveat that if the bottle landed on me, the most I could do would be choose two other people to kiss. (The stopped letting me play altogether when I began suggesting two boys or two girls should kiss.)

I also realized sometime last year that I have never been skinny dipping. And it’s not that the repressive environment I grew up in was so effective and getting kids to not be kids. It was more that I wasn’t invited to gatherings where those types of things happened.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to go skinny dipping this year. But the truth is I have just as many people to go with then as I do now.