Sometimes I bookmark art that I see in magazines, or online, for future exploration. Most of the time, what piqued my interest in passing, on closer inspection, doesn’t end up moving me but, when I dig deeper, and find more about an artist who caught my eye and I fall in love with what I see, it’s like happening on a wonderful book you had never heard of.
I am no stranger to old, naked bodies, especially female. During the course of the hours I spend volunteering at the hospital, I see bodies ravaged by disease, scarred by surgery or just plain old. There is something about a hospital setting that allows for intimacy and a shedding of prudery. There is also a generosity in women who share their stories, complete with images to match.
4:40 pm on a Wednesday afternoon. I look up and the sky is a perfect shade of intense blue, so velvety I think I could touch it. If I turn around, towards the mountains, the blue dissolves into a hazy white, fading into the rock. On the opposite side, the sky mingles with the ocean, creating a smattering of stripes, from grey to baby blue and every shade in between.
Los Angeles is currently enveloped in Mapplethorpe mania. Two companion exhibitions are on view at the Getty Center and at LACMA, and a new documentary titled “Look at the Pictures” just opened on HBO. Twenty seven years after his death, it seems it was time to rediscover the work of an ambitious and provocative photographer who started taking pictures by accident.
I live so much in my head that visual details escape me. So bogged down by the images I concoct, I am unable to see what is in front of me. I would make the worst witness, picking someone out of a line-up – translated into more prosaic terms, this means I make a very poor photographer. And an even worse selfie taker – it also doesn’t help I freeze in front of the camera, whether held by me or someone else, pulling all kinds of obnoxious faces.