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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Surfaces and Strategies – Art Nude – The Photographer in the Frame

During one of the university webinars, it was suggested by the Module Leader, that I should consider the use of a pocket mirror, or similar, to place myself in my images.

I have previously considered Vivienne Maricevic’s work and remembered seeing some of her work where she inserted parts of herself into the images.  Figures 1-3 are examples.

Figures 1-3: Maricevic. Unknown Titles. Unknown Dates

There is an element of humour to her images. Her hands add an element of voyeurism to the images as we are fully aware that the photographer is present when the images are taken.  Why voyeuristic?  Because in many cases the model has an erection and this leads me to think of the photographer as voyeuristic in this case.


Figure 4: Sutherst. 2017

For my experiments, I decided to initially trial resting a large mirror against the backdrop (figure 4).

The reflection show me sat, photographing a full frontal image of the model.  The white object in the top righthand side of the mirror is a reflection of the soft box.

In this image, I feel very voyeuristic. The pose makes the model seem exposed and to some extent vulnerable (as he is obviously naked). The voyeuristic aspect of the image is enhanced by the distance of my reflection from the model.


Figure 5: Sutherst. 2017

The second image (figure 5) has my reflection in a circular mirror held by the model.  The phallic symbolism of the me in the mirror replacing his manhood is hard to miss.

The image reads as though I am trying to assert dominance over the image.  I have become more important than his penis.

This is still voyeuristic in nature in my opinion.  I found this shot both amusing and awkward to shoot.  I was very aware of the voyeuristic and dominant impression my reflection gives to the image.


Figure 6: Sutherst. 2017

The most successful image is the last one I took (figure 6).  My presence in the image is much more subtle and the mirror less obtrusive.  I do not feel so much a voyeur in this image as I am not the first thing you look at the time.  It was a tricky shot to set up to ensure my reflection was in the mirror, so communication between me and the model was vital.

There is potential to develop this idea further.  I do find the whole thing awkward as I hate being in photos and this feels like I am intruding on the model’s private life.  Silly really since the model and I are both in the studio (this was not our first shoot).  Yet somehow it feels different being in the images with him.

I feel I need to do more work on this theme.


Figures 1 – 3: (2017) 😉. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Aug. 2017].

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