Sarah Walker's self portraits are among my favorites, anytime anyplace. It may seem a little too much when one sees the number of higher notoriety photographs I posted on this blog, and all those who live and lived over the last century, but that's my opinion and I share it. Some years ago, she had a "one-picture-a-day" project in which I had selected some of her self-portraits (here). This year, this young Australian woman does it again "shooting at least one image, accompanied by a quote, every day for a year". Self-portraits are not the dominant aspect of this project, but I decided to extract some (most) of them from the collection (that still goes on) cos' once again, there's something in the "visage" of this young lady that is wonderfully photogenic and raises a special emotion in the viewer's soul. Quotes are her responsability and I don't find them always interesting (and neither are all pictures taken). However, above are gathered self-portraits that I love. Her site here.
She's born in Switzerland, lives in NYC (how many artists live in this city? Are there not-artist people living down there?). She wanted to become a painter but got out her art school being a photographer. This series is her first, called Exit, in B&W, and it's what I prefer in her still starting career. Of course, the influence of Francesca Woodman is major but it's not mimetism or plagiarism. I think it deserves a post (but to have or not a post on this confidential blog is of course of no importance for these artists, I am lucid about it). A site here. The series with comments there.
Katharina Bosse was born in Finland in 1968 and lived mostly in Germany. She's rather famous for her Burlesque performers portraits. In 2009, she published a series of naturalist/naturist portraits of her waiting for her 2 babies, shot in various country landscapes, with some accessories, showing that being pregnant, a mother and in a pastoral environment is not antinomic with sensuality. Sometimes she gives a very primitive figure of motherhood (when she feeds her child or when she is under the wood caban) and other times, there's a much more sophisticated impressionist atmosphere (notably Manet's Lunch on the grass). There's a little bit of provocation and full of humor in these images. Once again, as often with female photographers, they provide a sort of a holy iconography of maternity, but an agnostic one, with natural function (reproduction) as the sole object of cult. Thanks to her to provide on her site these pictures in very high quality. It's always a pleasure to offer to visitors images not deteriorated. Site here (pdf file can be downloaded). This project is often shown in various towns (was shown in Paris but I missed it).
Surely the most transgressive and taboo-breaking photo project in history : a son takes pictures of her mother in sexual exhibition activities. It's too difficult with my poor English to describe the projet so I took this section from a site in which Ledare talks about it "The photographer recently released a book of images, Pretend You’re Actually Alive, which features his mother, a 59-year-old ballerina-turned stripper, in various stages of undress. Some of the pictures include lingerie and boyfriends; many feature a come-hither gaze that wouldn’t be so jarring if the photographer weren’t her son. Ledare, 32, says the project began about eight years ago, when he paid his mother a visit in Seattle. “Basically,” he says, “I arrived home one Christmas, and I hadn’t seen her in a year, and she came to the door completely naked.” Ledare, who left home at 15, and was formerly a professional skateboarder and assistant to photographer-director Larry Clark of KIDS fame, says the camera provides needed distance between him and his mother and, conversely, serves as a catalyst “to sort of push the relationship.” Pretend You’re Actually Alive, also the name of his recent show at New York’s Andrew Roth Gallery, reflects the tension inherent in their relationship, tracing his mother’s fall and Ledare’s rise. “It was my mother coming into a period of decline and attempting to resist that through projecting her sexuality and tying herself to younger boyfriends,” says Ledare. “And it’s a coming of age, artistically, for me.”. He photographed her over more 7 years and this temporality brings a totally essential dimension to this project that would surely have been considered as only transgressive if the sex-pix of the first years were the only ones provided. This series questions us all about this difficulty we have to see our parents as sexualized and, when we're parents, to accept that our children, even when they are grown-ups, can't consider us as sexualized, and if they accept it, don't want even to imagine how we are when we do it (and often we do much more than they do cos' we learned a lot about diversity of sexual pleasures and excitations). Yes, this cultural barrier (only cultural, nothing ontologic in it, contrary to what many would like us to believe) is printed in us and this project has the incredibly strong quality to push it to its limits. I though it was good to keep the picture of Tina Peterson (the mother of Leigh Ledare) as a dancet ballet in 1966 at the end of this post. A site here with some more about it. There's of course a book.