The Photography of Chip Willis

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Inspired by seeing the work of Helmut Newton in the 1980s, Chip Willis is now influencing a new generation of young photographers in his own right.

His (Newton’s) work struck a chord as very different than all of the images I had seen and forgotten. I saw his and remembered.

Interview

The Photography of Mari Sarai

I wanted to express that the nudity of a woman is not limited to fulfilling men’s erotic desires. She is worthy of respect. A naked woman can possess her own style, independence and strength.

Mari Sarai

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After studying photography in Los Angeles, Japanese born Mari Sarai worked as a photographic journalist in New York from 1997. In 1999 she relocated to Tokyo and worked as a fashion photographer. In 2005 she moved to London where she has been working on projects including Harper’s Bazaar UK, Vogue UK as well as Dazed & Confused which is where I first saw her pictures.

The exhibition and book NAKED is her first series of female nudes. It’s a celebration of 21st Century women. Sarai’s supermodel and artist subjects radiate a daring sexuality, her intention is to praise women’s nudity through a female gaze, and bring courage to all strong females.

Through her lens Mari captures the moment the model’s everyday constructed persona is removed, revealing an erotic feminine sensuality that is infused with a wild freedom and inner confidence that goes beyond the boundaries of traditional portraiture and fashion photography. The resulting images capture a unique spontaneity; a model plays with a gun in one photograph, a girl writhes on the pavement at night in another. Friends, musicians, artists, editors and models are featured including Janice Dickinson, Alice Dellal and Daisy Lowe.

Interview and more pictures

The Photography of Helmut Newton

I would say that most of the photographers whose work I’ve featured on Frontbotties are, to some extent, standing on the shoulders of the great Helmut Newton.

Working in black and white, the prolific German born lensman established a style of erotically-charged and sophisticated urban glamour often with fetishistic sub-texts.

Newton settled in Paris in 1961 and his highly influential works began appearing in magazines including French Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

His notoriety continued to increase, most notably with his 1980 “Big Nudes” series. These pictures marked a pinnacle in a career which was always underpinned by excellent technical skills.

He died in 2004 when his car sped out of control and hit a wall in the driveway of his residence in Southern California. His ashes are buried next to Marlene Dietrich at the Städtischer Friedhof III in Berlin.

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Back of the Nett

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One of the best things about Issue 174 of FRONT has to be the sensational return of Alysha Nett. This shot is my favourite of the set by Christian Saint but the mirror image above is a close runner-up.

The “true or false” feature which goes with her shoot includes this:

If Alysha had to fill the frame on her back with a face, she’d opt for yours.

FALSE: “I’d choose my dogs”.

So let’s take a look at some more Nett frames.

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I can’t praise this picture enough. It literally places Alysha on a pedestal as if she was an ancient statue – an Aphrodite of Alt – surveying the starkly modern backdrop. The curves of her body, and that amazing frame design, are sensuously backlit while her legs are moulded into a single mermaid like limb by the diaphanous drape. The talented photographer is Creativerehab.

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This one, by The Creepster, is great too. The low view-point and the high-cut, backless swimsuit are perfect for showing off both the tattoo and Alysha’s Callipygian charms.

And not a canine in sight!

The Death of Youth

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Digital manipulation has long been a pet peeve of mine and yet another reason I like FRONT so much. Maybe I’m being naive here, but my impression has always been that they keep the use of airbrushing to a minimum and allow the natural beauty and character of their models to shine through.

More so than their competitors anyway. Certain publications re-touch their images to the point that all the girls look the same. Dimples, creases, folds, bone structure, even, whisper it, cellulite are natural, and erotic on a healthy young woman and a huge part of what distinguishes one girl from the next. As soon as you start “tidying up” these things you lose a lot of the personality too. Blandness and homogeneity are curses of modern society but at least some people are fighting back against the graphic vandals, those photoshop philistines.

Giovanni Lipani’s Death of Youth series is a great example of what I’m talking about. It’s an archive of photographs featuring 100 women “who do not fit into the typical characterization of ‘fashion model’ that dominates much of today’s photography, providing the viewer with a refreshing look at beauty – without the use of photoshopping.”

The Italian lensman has written a mission statement about the motivations and ideas behind his Death of Youth series. This is just an excerpt; you can read the full piece here.

The images are not refined and many resemble snapshots. The hyper-sexualized nature of the images evokes the feeling that the photographer is involved in numerous casual sexual encounters. I became the “jet-setting playboy” that I admired from my youth, like James Bond, Hugh Hefner, Terry Richardson and Helmut Newton. Moreover, I embodied the life of today’s version of these playboys: the blog-centric photographer, the archetype of a sexual icon.

I photographed 100 women to further demonstrate the fantasy of this lifestyle. The majority of these women do not fit into the typical characterization of “fashion model” that dominates much of today’s photography. This provided a more raw and realistic vision of this fantasy. I shot each model one-on-one without lights, make-up artists, stylists or assistants. This provided a much more intimate environment in which I was able to connect with my subjects on a very personal level.

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By shooting all of the photos on film—a dying form—I was able to encapsulate the sense of memory that is so important to these photos. I was extremely strict about not using digital re-touching software to keep the images unembellished and true to life. These techniques provide the viewer with a refreshing look at beauty. Put differently, as more and more photos are manufactured through Photoshop, these images release viewers from this paradigm and allow them to live in this testimonial of a young man’s youthful fantasies.

At least one of the models used in the series will be familiar to Frontbottie followers. I’ve chosen three shots of Hattie Watson interacting with a rather magnificent bed to illustrate this post.

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Death of Youth Galleries

Roswell Ivory

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An intimate black and white portrait complete with vintage bloomers, which, according to the model, was taken using “the oldest camera I’ve ever seen- a real Victorian-style head-under-cover, images upside-down metal and wood contraption! I loved it!!”

I especially like the detail of the hands tying the bow and the way that the underwear frames her butt cheeks. Find out what has been photo- shopped from this picture here and see more truly wonderful work from photographer John Mullin and Roswell Ivory here.

Nicole Vaunt

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I never cease to be amazed at the sheer quality of the pictures that I find to use on this site. This one – titled Stop Motion Glitter Ball by Vanguard Imageworks – really did stop me in my tracks. It turned up here and it’s simply stunning.

Nicole Vaunt has been an alt girl diy on the Front site and her Q & A includes this little gem:

“I curse like a sailor and make a killer apple pie. Oh, and my ass is epic”

I’ve added Nicole’s tumblr to the blogroll and if you need any more convincing about the epicness of her booty then here’s another picture – this time in mean and moody black and white.

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An Alt Girl Speaks – Hattie Watson

This superb new shot of Hattie Watson is by Kenji Mizumori:

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The words are from Hattie’s tumblr:

Razor D: On your pic by Kenji Mizumori we got to see your nice behind… you should add a tattoo there it’s really missing.

Hattie: No way! I think a bare back on a woman is so beautiful and my back will be for ever bare….as of right now anyway.

An Alt Girl Speaks – Roswell Ivory

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Roswell Ivory is an alternative model who bridges many genres, including fashion, fetish and art-nude where her pale skin and waist-length red hair have become trademarks. As you can see she also has a trademark tattoo. Make sure you visit her excellent WordPress blog which is where I found the following amusing extract.

I was on my way back from a photoshoot, carrying three heavy bags of clothes and shoes. One of these was an M+S food bag. Squeezing past an old man who was taking up the entire pedestrian area, I saw him look at the bag, look at me and then mutter “no wonder you’ve got a fat arse.” Especially devastating considering I’ve lost an inch and a half from the aforementioned arse since January.

Nasty old man: you continue wearing your beige trenchcoat and insulting strangers in the street. I shall continue travelling the world to work with people who think my “fat arse” is just the thing to photograph.

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p.s. The tattoo was done as a memorial to a friend of mine who died. I was fifteen and a goth (I still think Morticia Addams is a style icon!) At the time, I thought my bum would be the perfect place for a tattoo as my mum wouldn’t see it and it wasn’t somewhere I generally displayed to the public…

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It’s a black Widow spider holding a blue lily, and it’s on my bum!

Rosie Jones

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FRONT celebrated the arrival of Spring this week by sending Rosie out into the garden. It’s a great shot which in both pose and lighting reminded me a little bit of the famous Athena Tennis Girl poster – except no-one’s told Rosie that she’s supposed to scratch her arse not her head!

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A close up view.

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