St. James Cavalier, Centre for Creativity, Valletta, Malta.
December 2008 – January 2009
In the light of these works, I am ill at ease with the term “nude”. More often than not, the popular misconception is one of bodies put on parade, solely physical, erotic, often explicit but seldom sincere, if ever. It is not that I try to exclude eroticism in my work – I strongly believe that the erotic is intrinsic to the human psyche and I do hope that my images are more erotic, more sensual, than most nudes of the more explicit order that are very often projected for general consumption.
In these works, apart from the natural and physical beauty of the human form, I am in search of feelings, emotions . . . the person within. The essence of what makes us human, what we are, is what ultimately interests me as I try to delve beneath the skin of my models. At the same time, as I look at the human form and try to capture the idea of the soul therein, I perceive the kind of clay from which spring all creatures: us, and all other earthly marvels pulsating with life. We exist within a historico-biological context: our roots are testified to by the very fact that we are embodied in this flesh and blood.
I use light to accentuate the mood and bring out the inner-self, stripped to its bare essence. Hand in hand with this use of light is the economic, at times metonymic, use of the frame which is another way by which I try to elicit the true spirit of the object of my lens by focusing on parts of the body, which I hope sends an honest signal about who those people are. In my images, I try to move away from all things which in our everyday life conceal our true selves, all the paraphernalia and man-made artefacts which alter and cause us to misconstrue the essence of our being so that a perceived identity is the result. I steer away from nudity insofar that itself is a man-made artefact: “To be on display is to have the surface of one’s own skin . . . turned into a disguise . . . The nude is condemned to never being naked. Nudity is a form of dress.” 1
Hence, the naked spirit: my lens is in search of who we really are through the only physical thing which in this life is truly and pristinely ours: our own body.
1 John Berger, Ways of Seeing