Stealing the Mystery of Feminity
We live in an era of uncontrolled bulimia of photographic images.
An availability inconceivable in the analogical age. A continuous and multichannel flow.
Nowadays people have the opportunity to see, every day, an unlimited number of photographs.
And more and more rarely on paper. It’s almost always a finger sliding on the touchscreen that gives rhythm to an almost infinite review of faces, bodies, landscapes and all the representable kaleidoscope. Obviously, such a massive and compulsive use has deeply changed the relationship between man and photography.
Just the loss of any physicality of the photo, which was born as an object that can be touched and has its own material identity, has led to a downgrade in the attention and care with which the eye goes to examine it.
More than looking at them, photos are given a glance.
And in the memory, subjected to a bombardment that makes the assimilation of iconic data almost impossible, little or nothing often remains.
And yet a primordial rule, born with photography itself, continues to apply.
Giovanni Pasini Photo: photography as a theft
We could call it “the rule of theft”. Even now, an image manages to hook the emotional component of the observer if it has managed to “steal” something profoundly authentic from the subject it represents.
A rule that is also and above all valid for the nude.
Both artistic and erotic.
A particularly “bombastic” body can attract our attention.
As well as a particularly daring pose.
But, in the first case, the availability of bodies is such that they will inevitably overlap and cancel each other out in the overabundant storehouse of short-term memory.
In the second case, the psychological relationship with the “explicit” photo will be reduced to nothing more than a disposable voyeurism.
In both cases, zero emotion.
And a photo that gives no emotion is a stillborn photo.
But if, instead of representing a body, you manage to represent a woman in her authenticity, then things change.
And emotion can be triggered.
“I’m here to steal something from you”
Every woman, whatever her age and whatever her aesthetic characteristics, is the bearer of a mystery that almost every form of art has dealt with.
The mystery of femininity.
And each of them carries it in a unique and unrepeatable way.
The photographer must succeed in stealing it from her.
To capture it in a gesture, a look, a facial expression, a light in the eyes. It’s a mystery that manifests itself in an infinite spectrum of attitudes.
But it is very difficult to hook with the lens. And it implies a strong harmony with the model who, professional or not, tends to stereotype the poses and must, instead, nourish a certain empathy with the photographer to disarm her psychological defenses and show her true self.
And so you can get a “woman’s nude” instead of a simple naked body.
And even the most daring image, the one that dangerously touches the limit of vulgarity, takes on an emotional strength that lifts it from the deadly dimension of voyeurism as an end in itself, if you have managed to steal, together with the intimacy of the body, that of the femininity of the person.
I always tell my models when I’m on set; “I’m here to steal something from you”.