For my new idea, instead of looking at things like autopsy reports and photographs that did very ‘straight on’ photography with clearly defined documentary reasoning behind each photograph, I have instead looked at the photographers and artists that look at the body in a much more emotionally charged fashion.

For instance, Jenny Saville:

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Jenny Saville’s work is a fascinating analysis of hers and others bodies that doesn’t pull any punches.
She shows them all with every fold crease and ‘unattractive’ bit of hair, skin tone and mark that she can convey through her paintings.

The images below are photographs of her body contorted and pressed against glass. I find the colour of these photographs beautiful.

I have always had the personal impression from these images that she is pulling at the parts of the body she dislikes and is trying to constrict herself and her body to fit into the confines of the concept of beauty society presses on us.

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Saville’s paintings are, in my mind, the definition of brutal honesty when it comes to bodies. She does not shy away from any body type, whether male, female, trans*, large, skinny etc. 
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A photographer I looked at, also, was Elinor Carucci. She has become a very important bit of research in the development of this idea.

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Carucci’s work ‘Closer’ is a series that does not shy away from the basic parts of life that make us human. Nudity is not something Carucci has any fear in showing us, and in doing so, she normalises it. It’s not shown as this big thing that’s important and when you look at the photographs you don’t see the nudity as the most important thing, but rather the form and/ or relationships she is showing in the photographs.

The photographs above show the ‘larger picture’. You see more of the body and shape of the form. But they are still cropped in a way that lets Carucci control what we focus on and see.

Also, she couples these photographs with far more close up photographs of different part of the body and (importantly for my work) skin.

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When she shows these incredibly close up images, we are given an insight into what she wants us to focus on, and are given a small story about the person. The image of the fingers, we know that the subject has had to have stitches, so was injured so way. The back photographs shows the marks of the type of clothes they were wearing and the feet photograph tells us that the person needs to repaint their nails at some point.

Carucci’s photographs appear very honest and truthful insights into her family and herself, but at the same time, she controls what we see and how we see it, while also dictating at times specific things she wants us to focus on.

Her images, for me, normalise nudity and the human body, which really is what it always should of been to us. For some reason the human body has become warped into this taboo that we shouldn’t see outside specific situations and the media hasn’t helped the situation on bit.

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We are constantly bombarded with images of photo-manipulated faces with no blemishes, wrinkles or even skin pores. They create this entirely unrealistic standard of beauty that we all desperately strive for but can realistically never reach.

The medias perceptions of the human body is so drastically different from the truths Elinor Carucci and Jenny Saville show us, yet we are more likely to flinch and be made uncomfortable by the naked forms that Carucci shows us than what the media does because we are told that the basic truths of our bodies and skin are not to be strived for or celebrated, but despised and hidden.

 

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