How can we build an sphere of intimacy and privacy from provocative aspects of the female body? We can find the answer in Alexandra Von Fuerst’s new project, Off the Sand and the Petrel. The photographer isn't alone in this; John Yuyi, who poses for the artist along three other models, accompanies her. Together they build a warm, intimate and private atmosphere that shows us that the body has the power to express everything we want.
It may seem that provocation and intimacy are opposites that can't go together. Alexandra shows that this isn't like that, she redefines the idea of these two aspects and proves that they can indeed go together. Red lips and net tights in contrast with neutral colors are some of the elements that Alexandra uses to originate a personal image. In the photographs the body is conceived like a personal and safe space that is able to transmit feelings and emotions. The essence on Off the Sand and the Petrel is the new meaning she gives to privacy, letting us see it.
This new project is called Of the Sand and the Petrel. What is the reason for this title?
The name was chosen very instinctively after reading a poem by T.S. Eliot. It simply felt perfect to me to reflect the colours, the textures and the overall feeling of the project. The sand is warm and soft and tickles the body getting under your garments. It blends perfectly in combination with the contaminating fluid petrel that sticks to your skin.
Intimacy and privacy are the main themes of your project. What does intimacy mean to you?
I consider privacy to be a space where to feel safe, where to feel comfortable alone. It is the creation of a moment detached from public attention where to find peacefulness.
How do you create this atmosphere of privacy?
Creating space and distance to the subject, not giving many instructions, leaving it to itself allows it to find some privateness. Intimacy is then seen as an extension of privacy, which includes relationships with others as well as with oneself. Intimacy comprehends sexuality, considering primarily the feeling of comfort in its own body and in connection to others. Closure, contact, sensation, perception and identity are key words to the topic, in my belief.
“Intimacy is the creation of a moment detached from public attention where to find peacefulness.”
It seems that, besides the main topics, you want to show some emotions through the photographies. Which are the emotions that you want to convey?
The body presented in this work is hidden and exposed, constricted and freed at the same time. While shooting I thought about recognition and appreciation of the body, an overall feeling of acceptance. The initial idea was the creation of a small catalogue of body parts, expressing the grace and the appeal of the human form. The final result, however, presents a series of details, meant to represent a very straight and direct approach to the body, as well as multiple images focusing more on the subject as a whole, in interaction with others or simply retired in privacy. As I previously mentioned, I decided then to play with both constriction and freedom from outer factors, showing different sides of comfort and transformation of the body in relation to others. It represents the general sensation of how a person appreciates his or herself.
In this project you use provocative aspects of the female body. Do you want to empower it with this work?
I believe the female body is already powerful; I am simply expressing my vision of it.
The body is ideal in every shape and colour; its defects make it real and enhance its strength. I decided to take into consideration provocative aspects of the collective imagery, such as red lips and net tights to intensify the concept of power behind the images.
What did you see in John Yuyi that made you decide she was the perfect model for your project?
I found John Yuyi almost by chance while researching for the project and immediately thought she would be a perfect fit for this. She is an artist herself and reflects a particular strength that I loved.
How did the collaboration enrich the general project?
The collaboration with her permitted me to add intensity to the pictures, blending her strong look to a soft and intimate atmosphere. Moreover I’d like to thank also Nathalia Bruno and Veronique et Charlotte for posing for me, allowing to add some diversity of shapes in the work. I decided to focus only on John Yuyi to use her as the main subject of the project but I couldn’t have achieved the same results without these other two amazing girls.
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Brief ELLISS, tights and body stylist’s own.
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Underwear MISS CROFTON, tights stylist’s own.
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Body stylist’s own.
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Underwear ELAI, mask SANCHEZ-KANE.
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