I spent ten days at an artists’ retreat this past August and had a fantastic time. What came out of the program was a renewed sense of commitment to keep on progressing with my work with the pregnant female form. After many late night discussions with an artist friend (usually over wine which is so stereo typical), I decided I wanted to break the maternal nude into two categories, one being more about the individual and one being more landscape. Today I am going to discuss the landscape form.
The inspiration for this work comes from a well-known Japanese photographer, Hiroshi Sugimoto http://www.indejacobs.com/Sugimoto.html. Sugimoto”s pictures “seduce in a down to earth way – an enchantingly Japanese minimalism informs the artist’s black and white photographs (assemblylanguage.com)” He is best known for his seascapes which have been his main subject for the past 20 years.
The beauty in this simple horizon is stunning, and each horizon is unique depending on the day, the light and the weather. It is this work that started me thinking about doing the same with the maternal nude and the pregnant belly. I want to strip this form of all of its identifying features and let the viewer absorb the beauty and the softness of each individual shape. Sugimoto shoots with an old 8×10 view camera often making exposures that are up to 1 and a half hours long.
While I can’t quite ask my pregnant subjects to stay still for that long, I have started using some different techniques. I am starting to use a macro lens with my 35mm camera, and I have acquired a 4×5 view camera, which I will start experimenting with in a few weeks. Here are some of the latest pieces. I look forward to a room full of these. Currently I am printing them on Silver Gelatin Fiber paper 16×20 and hope to do them even larger.
Think of this shape and how much it represents. Why isn’t it better represented in visual history? This is the question that I am going to continue to pursue.