I don’t mind years going by, but the body getting older, it’s terrible. It’s not for me... I’m not fine with it visually or in any other way." Her work questions the hierarchical relationship between bodily appearance and interior worth set forth by this culture, by photographing nudes as they are, with all imperfections and irregularities intact. Her cinematic images invoke the image based media inundating American cities like LA.
Marder's image making strategies invoke cinema, but they do not always critique it. I find her work, especially her color photographs, to hover somewhere too close to pornography. Many of her earlier photographs depict a couple in an embrace, and for me these are the more problematic of her photos. I chose the black and white photograph above as the example of her "most successful work," because unlike the couple embracing and closing the viewer out of the narrative (or creating a voyeur of the viewer), this photo implicates us through the woman's gaze, inviting us into the frame. The narrative of this work is not prescribed - it is a difficult read. I think Marder's strengths in general in her work are her beautiful aesthetic sensibility, and her ability to create atmosphere. There is an intimacy in many of her photos, through the vulnerability of the naked subjects, though occasionally it tips from vulnerability to something more aggressive and exhibitionist, alienating me as a viewer. Her later work is a series of photographs of prostitutes from Europe, and I have more trouble with these images - they are at times sensitive and stunning, and at times seem prescribed and leaning on cliches.
"For an image to be powerful it has to, in some regards, insinuate death."
Malerie Marder, Acne Paper 2012
5 years ago