By Lisa Katayama at 7:33 am Wed, Apr 14, 2010
For a photo gallery in Burn Magazine, NY-based Indian photographer Manjari Sharma invited people into come to her apartment, take a shower, and let her photograph them.
Link [via @tonymcnicol]
I tried something similar and got a bunch of restraining orders for my trouble. What’s her secret, I wonder?
The secret to photography like this is simply to be female (or gay, I suppose). If you check out the kind of photos female photographers take of other females on places like flickr (I don’t mean erotic stuff), it’s worlds different from what male photographers take.
It’s not just that they have a different perspective on the female figure or stuff like that (which is certainly true), but with a female photographer other females are a lot more open to showing intimacy and femininity while they pose for the photos.
I do realize there are photos of males in here too… but it’s the same thing. Most males wouldn’t undress (even partially) and get in the shower for a male photographer, but for a female, why not? Seems much less threatening somehow, and maybe even a little exciting ;)
I was really into taking photos of girls for a while in college (look here for a small sampling, and there’s much more on there if you look around) and while I’m happy with what I came up with for the most part, I never reached what I was looking for, which is the kind of stuff that female photographers take.
Part of my shtick was to approach the photography of girls from a different perspective than you normally get from male photographers. Most of them were comfortable with me (even the ones that didn’t know me well, after a few initial awkward minutes) but only in a couple cases did I really get any intimacy in the photographs.
but only in a couple cases did I really get any intimacy in the photographs
It’s difficult to get a sense of intimacy when most of your shots (at least the ones you posted) don’t show your subject’s face.
Hey, I know the guy in numbers 8 and 11! cool.
Moar electric guitar.
Too much red tape with “consent” and all that.
I’m curious as to why 1 & 4 opted to wear clothing in the shower. Too shy to get naked? or was it an artistic choice on Sharma’s end?
Some of these are beautiful. But therein lies my problem. I find it a little weird that none of the people in these photographs is physically unappealing or decrepit. I applaud the photographer for having a (somewhat interesting) idea, and then executing it. But I would have been so much more impressed — and moved — by this if there were elderly people, fatter people, less model-ish-looking people included here. As it stands, it feels a little bit like an ad for high-end soap products. Still and all, as mentioned, some of the shots are really lovely.
I find when my subjects DON’T know about the camera, they are more relaxed and natural, all giddy in the locker room after winning the City girl’s soccer championship, gotta scrub hard to get all that sweat off their nubile.. ahem….
No electric guitars?
Beautiful. I take 2 showers every day and each are the sunrise and sunset of my waking hours. Watching these fellow humans wash is like looking at humanity at it’s best.
I agree with the above commenter: everyone soooo pretty — or at least young and hip looking. No old dudes, no one who looks like an accountant. No one, in act, who looks like they’re actually showering instead of being artily photographed showering. I want at least one person who looks the part of what a real shower looks like: harsh lights, ridiculously festooned with rich blindingly white deodorant lather, and hair fashioned into a gaudy shampoo horn. And mouth wide open, probably singing some horrific old arena metal hit. Or is that just the way this piece of humanity looks at his best?
I found this photo set strange because everyone looks extremely sad. Nobody there enjoys taking a shower?
Lovely pics. Some are like portraits. Great idea as well. Each person has a different look and style.
#5 I’d agree that some are beautiful, but is it the falling water that makes them that way?
Personally, I find showering in a dark(er) room very moody, leaving me thinking less about invigorating cleanliness, and more about the universe surrounding me.
Oh yeah, photo 10 in the series reminds me of a Greek statue I saw in Cyprus 20 years ago, and number 2 is raw power, contained.
Reading her artist’s statement, looks like the secret (if there is one) is to simply be honest in communicating with the subject as a collaborator. The process then becomes a conversation more than an artist—>model thing. Of course, having been published with accolades helps in her case immensely as well. That said, she does state that her requests were turned down a number of times.
But as for being male- given the proliferation of male-focused nude girl imagery out there, I think there’s certainly a TGWC (Typical Guy With Camera) perception that a fellow can fall into easily if total honesty as to the project’s purpose, boundary conditions, and the safety/security of the setting are not established from the outset.
Perhaps it also helps to have a circle of artistic friends/models to drawn upon at first, such as Ryan McGinley (who also photogs young, naked people- he recently had a hugely successful show in NY that drew a crowd so huge that the show was shut down as traffic was being blocked by the crowds *outside* the gallery).
Wow. Beautiful, sensitive & intimate images. Fine-art photography that captures mood & moment, as well as light and darkness. Sad? I don’t think so. Real and genuine, I’d say. Thanks for finding and sharing these with us.
Nobody (in the pictures) smiles.
but everybody hurts.
Norman Bates to the white courtesy phone.
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