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WINk 5

EXQUISITE BODY from the win-initiative collection 1


EXQUI Founder Hans Neleman Creative Director Chrissy Reilly Art Director Horatio Baltz Director of Photography Jay Corbett Editor At Large Charlie Fish Production Percy Alban, Natalie Lloyd Creative Consultant Nicholas Ong Contributing Writer Lisa Larson-Walker Essay By Tom De Mette WINk Magazine

C/O WIN-Initiative | 77 Mercer Street | New York, New York 10012 | 212.274.1000 winkmag@win-initiative.com | www.wink-mag.com | www.wink-blog.com | www.twitter.com/winkmag 2


ISITE BODY Photographers Magdalena Ladron de Guevara Eric Raptosh Fernando Perdomo Sebastian Smith Gabriel Adda Babak Arimflet Eleonora Chyornaya Litta Udod Giordano Cipriani Anna Kazanova Lisa Pram Michel Marcu Rodrigo Perez Belen Asad Christian Rodriguez Gustavo Rodriguez Gaspar Cabrera Iliya Vinogradov Stanislav Solntsev Sergey Lebedev Kristoffer Axen Rafique Sayed Rafael Botto Henry Jacobson Laura Otero

cover, 24, 70/71 8, 52, 59, 61, 63, 64, 69, 76, 99 46 - 48 28/29, 82 84 85 4/5, 34/35 18/19 44/45 88/89 36 54 32/33 74/75 22/23, 25, 72/73 back cover 62 66 14/15, 16/17 30/31 86/87 80, 81 56/57 39, 40, 43 79

Images exclusively by WIN-Initiative Talent. Edited by Hans Neleman All Images are licensed on www.win-initiative.com and/or www.gettyimages.com Selected Images for sale as prints through the WIN Artshop, WINkel. 3


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PUBLISHER’S NOTE Authentic, provocative and inspiring, here’s exquisite! If I told you how long I pondered about the essence of a WIN-Initiative image, you would not believe me. Ok then. Try one year. Yes, it took our entire first year to come up with three words to describe what WIN stood for! After raising our boutique agency for three years now I look back over our short history with much pride. Especially the first twelve months, which were completely dedicated to discovery. Crisscrossing the globe, meeting young and experienced photographers alike with diverse and unique visions, it inspired me to promote, whole heartedly, a new wave of opportunity for our talent and the industry. WINk magazine gives voice to this belief. Now, with these three words intensely present, for our fifth edition of WINk, we have displayed a collection of exciting images collectively named the ‘Exquisite Body’. They clearly reflect our commitment to pursuing nothing but the most creative photography. While the interpretation of the word exquisite inextricably varies as much as the multi cultural perspectives of the twenty-five selected image-makers; I am confident everyone will recognize the quality inherent in their work. These photographs were selected from WIN’s extensive stock collection now already encompassing well over twenty thousand images. And thanks to the high-end supply from our enthusiastic talent I am proud to say WIN continues to grow steadily. 6

As all WINk readers know we love to shake up the rules, by giving creative carte blance to a new designer so that WINk never looks the same twice. This issue’s lay out was made in house by our very own multi-talented Chrissy Reilly (spurred on by Nicholas Ong - designer of WINk 1) and styled in coffee table book manner (idea planted by Paul Carlos – designer of WINk 4) instead of a traditional magazine format. We wanted to show more visual work supported by just a few in-depth essays. We hope you like the literary contributions from Tom de Mette and Lisa Larson Walker. A special and deeply felt thanks to all the WIN photographers who made this issue of WINk so incredibly exquisite, authentic, provocative and inspiring!

Hans Neleman


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INTRODUCTIO Lisa Larson-Walker

Resembling a cadavre exquis in its eponymous character, Exquisite Body depicts a variety of exceptional human forms through a collection of work by the photographers of WIN Initiative. Bodily images manifest a virtual sensation of contact, as much as they return stable representations of physical identity unto consideration. For this reason, figurative photography is a vital synthetic appendage— an organ of our self-consciousness and social personality. Identification is inseparable from vision; consequently, from profile pictures to surveillance snapshots, the contemporary preponderance of figurative photography comes as no surprise. Yet the body is the medium of the whole of our sensations, in most instances outside of any statistical measure. An artful representation of the figure is an entirely bodily experience for both the maker and the viewer.

of an underwater kiss, the elastic granite of an athlete poised atop the fulcrum of a concrete barrier. Apparently, the modern unclothed subject is wont to straddle the boundary between carnal erotic titillation and humanist anatomical reverence, data and sensation. Perhaps there is something essential within the flickering understanding of flesh. We as observers of the bodies of others direct our latent associations into consideration of the human condition. Lisa Larson-Walker was born in Chicago and is a graduate of The Cooper Union School of Art. She is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and editor currently living and working in New York City.

Exquisite Body is a meeting ground amidst the altered state of virtual consciousness and the desire for vivid sensation. Substances and surfaces replete with haptic association pull the observer into a sensory imagination that is insistently physical. Sweat, spit, coarse hair, and porcelain skin; tactile physical imaginations are irresistible and as much a part of interpretation as symbolic understanding. Arched backs, pointed toes, clenched fists, pursed lips— groping Courbet Sleepers enveloped in the light of their own image, the weightless enchantment 9


Special thanks to Gotham Imaging for printing the Exquisite Body exhibit.

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EXHIBITION | PARTY | DRINK | FOOD | MUSIC | CONNECT FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT INFO@WIN-INITIATIVE.COM

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EXQUISITE BODY

SUBTLE MOVES IN SUDDEN SILENCE Tom De Mette Imagine capturing movements of interactivity between man and machine during a rare dance performance. Who would be directing, ultimately? Who would be the creative mind behind the choreography? Could it be technology, through some weird and uncanny alliance we refer to as ‘bodiliness’? Imagine the body as a ghost dancer in the machine. Photographing the body involves two machines that are suspected of having souls. There’s no other way of looking at the pictures of the human body made by a photo camera. We’re faced with a sudden silence. It’s this silence that is the result and no less than the artifact of a singular interaction between human and inhuman technology. Photography can only qualify as some kind of ontology. 37


My guess is that we need not look at the nude body as an image of a subject. We need to strip further, all the way to their objective state.

It’s hard not to agree with William A. Ewing (1999) when he states that what the nude encompasses is difficult to pin down. Do they evoke the erotic or as subjects of desire, do they function differently, perhaps more profoundly? My guess is that we need not look at the nude body as an image of a subject. We need to strip further, all the way to their objective state. That’s why looking at photographs doesn’t stop with the use our aesthetic view, but also requires a taste of discipline. When we experience the aesthetic of photography, we are disciplining our eyes. Our eyes are part of our senses, our means to look at the world. Our senses are human technology, they’re media. As media they are akin to the digital media we use ubiquitously. Digital media are hybrid media. They come down to just two numbers in endless variations. Each variation makes sense, because through its variability meaning is produced. And meaning we can understand. Each digital medium is also an elaboration of something analog. The analog roots of digital media are most likely to be the primary connection with our own human technology. It’s because our human technology is such poor technology that we never cease to invent and develop new technology. Digital media are extending our view on things around us. The urge of such development is perhaps all too human, but it’s also a requirement. It’s impossible to experience the richness of photography and photography of the body in particular. The reason for this is subtle and sublime. The body is always exquisite. In fact, the exquisite body can only be seen through advanced technology. No matter how hard we try and use our illusion, we will never grasp an

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inch or a fragment of the body in its exquisite form. We tend to focus on content when looking at the photographed body. We look for meaning, however small or immense. The exquisite form of the body is so mind-dazzling that we fall back to known meaning. We reduce form to meaning when we look at photographs of the body. It’s easier to restrict photographs to categories. Some images will be homoerotic. Others will revolve around innocence. The photography of Wilhelm von Gloeden is reminiscent to ancient mythology. The images of Jock Sturges are melancholic and preservations of our own hubris, a state wherein anything is still possible. Photographs by Shelby Lee Adams are conscious of human heritage and age. The pictures of Joel-Peter Witkin and Nicholas Sinclair can categorize as viewpoints or tokens of our phantom fantasies. The list can be made infinite, but the categories always return to the origin of the will of giving meaning to form. From a philosophical and theoretical perspective photography as an artistic practice and even more so as an expression of our visual culture has been condemned to the realm of postmodernism. However, when it comes down to form and not content or meaning, aligning photographic imagery on the postmodern scale remains a dubious affair. It seems that photographic artifacts can hardly qualify as anything else than modern. Through form, photography still strongly takes part in the modernist tradition. The essence of modern representation of (often urban) society is speed and dislocation. Among the modernist ideas we can also include alienation, rapid transformation

and anonymity (Brettell, 1999). We need only to examine the early images of the last decades of the nineteenth century to establish an apparent continuity between painting and photography. There’s little visionary space to detect between the works of Degas and Steichen, to name but two artists. Instead of categories images can be clustered into different models, each of them portraying city life and urban society. Still, early photographic images and the technique of the Daguerreotype in particular were hailed as mirrors of nature. It all had to do with the presence of detail. Yet, the omnipresence of detail could also be viewed as a deficiency in artistic photography. Unlike painters, early photographers could not erase or diffuse much of the unnecessary detail that weighted down the resulting image. Fortunately photography continued to develop into an autonomous artistic medium with its inherent hybridity in full bloom by using old techniques inherited from painting and graphic arts as well as experimenting with paper and new technology. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard not to mention photography in the postmodern discourse. For the spectator, contemporary photography leaves fewer traces of modernist visions and past techniques. Consequently, looking at photographs has become less about form and more about the story it’s supposed to represent. Even supposing is actually not the right term to define the postmodern way of experiencing photography. It would appear that the more technical and complex photographs become nowadays, the less attention we pay to this level of formality. It is as if we’ve become fully accustomed to the complexity of form. Photography has lost 41


much of its formal exclusivity in favor of an endless strain of interpretation. As an art form it’s now merely a communal activity with few thresholds left. Naturally that doesn’t really present a significant problem, at least not in the sense of exhibition and exposing photographs to a mass audience. Photographs can now be easily explained and reviewed by many. Each individual spectator finds a truth in the imagery. And truth is always under embargo. Truth in images is much more a beginning than an end. The essence of truth is its existence and that existence constitutes around discussion and debate. Indeed, why else would we exhibit photography? But looking at photography on an ontological level is quite a different story. What makes photography still exclusive is that the spectator is excluded from the co-existence between the photographer and the body being photographed. It can be argued that this exclusive relationship and hence, the a posteriori exclusion of the spectator or the audience, is at the core of most of the disciplines in art. But few other art forms than photography have such an intense exclusive relationship. In fact, the only real subject in photographic imagery is this exclusive relationship. The interplay between the photographer and the body being photographed is probably one of the most mysterious and uncanny aura’s we can imagine. Take a look at the imagery of Röntgen, Muybridge, Motta, Eagle, Hutchings, Lamprey and so on… What do you really see? What do you actually experience when looking at these images? Do they remind you of anything else than your own medical photographs and 42

X-rays? Such images, however beautiful or compelling, are basically scientific by form. Again, when we browse through the studio archives of photographic guilds portraying the body, we see the making of the human body as idolatry. These images are series of routines of capturing the ideal body or standard form. They leave few to the imagination and even less to the attempt of trying to connect with the a priori relationship between the photographer and the body being photographed. Although these images have much merit, they are irrelevant in our search for tracing the exclusive moment of co-existence. What is ultimately at play in the ontology of photography? It most likely has to do with some weird connection. A connection we might find in choreography. Of all the disciplines in art, photography and dance have most in common what the body is concerned. Maybe that’s also the reason why the body of dancers and performers deliver the most powerful imagery in body photography. When photographing the body that is being used as a machine, as a tool, as a medium, as a device, as an apparatus, photography becomes a gateway to the aesthetic of bodiliness. The bodily form being photographed is a continuous attempt to portray the Exquisite Body. Some might include pictures of athletes, but in the case of sport photography we rarely encounter anything different than what we expect. What makes photography exclusive is never about expectations, because we never know what to expect. We remain excluded from whatever clue we might find. That’s how fascination starts. It’s not much of a surprise that William A. Ewing (1994) calls his book about The Body


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a collection of photoworks of the human form. Photographing the body is always a work, and often a life’s work. It’s also always about form, the human form. And what makes this kind of photography stand out is its exclusivity, which mostly comes down to a mere attempt to capture this exclusivity. For us, spectators and audiences, there’s not much else we can do but to engage in this search, alongside the artist. Perhaps that’s quite a turn off. But ask yourself how poorly we are in touch with our own body. Maybe the body has a mind of its own. Maybe we need to erase all stories about the body in order to open up to the Exquisite Body. Maybe it’s not about what it’s supposed to represent but about what lays hidden and remains a secret. Maybe photographing the body is alchemy, not science. Hence, technology is ontology. Each photograph of the body can be used as evidence to back up this statement. If it even is a statement. Maybe it’s a simple connection. Tom De Mette (Ghent, 1974) is philosopher with the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences (Department of Adult Education Sciences) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Brussels, Belgium). He is currently working on a doctoral dissertation (PhD) on New Media Art and Digital Literacy. He publishes on topics like Cultural Policy, E-Culture, Citizenship, Media, Arts and Adult Education. He recently contributed to the monograph The Weight of Photography. Photography History Theory and Criticism (Johan Swinnen & Luc Deneulin, red.).

We look for meaning, however small or immense. The exquisite form of the body is so mind-dazzling that we fall back to known meaning. 47


References Brettell, Richard R. (1999). Modern Art 1851-1929. Oxford History of Art. Oxford: University Press. Ewing, William E. (1994). The Body. Photoworks of the Human Form. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd. Ewing, William E. (1999). Love & Desire. Photoworks. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd. 48


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AN ARRESTING MOMENT

CONTACT CHRISSY

The Exquisite Body issue was designed by Christina Reilly also known as “Contact Chrissy”, the multi-talented Operations Director at WIN-Initiative, where she controls all image and data management, handles talent, and coordinates events. An artist in her own right she holds a Master’s Degree in Fine Art, is a former welder, alternative process photographer, and installation artist. As if that is not enough she also has a jewelry line WAXTHEDUCK and has art directed projects for long time pal Rebecca Handler. Jewelry: www.waxtheduck.com Recent Projects: http: www.rebeccahandler.com/portfolios/50421-vintage Photo: Rebecca Handler, Hair: Adrianna Rodriguez, Makeup: MandyJo Reinier

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Ideas, Requests, Suggestions Please Contact info@win-initiative.com


WINk 5: Exquisite Body