Projet Sage Nu

In August I began a series of nude photographs with the working title, Projet Sage Nu. The project’s objective is to challenge contemporary notions of feminine beauty and the fallacy that it is the sole domain of the young and nubile. In many ways this work is a reaction to ageism as it applies to older women. It is also a reaction to the overt sexualization [objectification] of women and girls in popular culture, media, and advertising. My subjects are mothers and grandmothers, as well as women who have never had any children. All are over the age of fifty.

The poses are seated, and all compositions are from the neck down with special attention paid to the placement and character of the hands. The body therefore is secondary, offering only partial views of itself with a softness resulting from the shallow depth of field. The photographs are monochrome. In creating and editing my images, I explore shape, texture, and composition as a vehicle to meaningful narrative. These are not portraits in the traditional sense, yet they communicate these women’s humanity, strengths, and frailties primarily through the expressiveness of their hands. While I began with myself as the sole model, women have begun to express an interest in participating in this exciting project.

Animated-Nude

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currently I am working across various media platforms, including audio, video, and GIF formats. My recent poem, Requiem for a Grandmother, was pivotal in the project’s transition from purely two-dimensional photography to a multimedia experience. Please stay tuned for further updates.

Oeil Noir

 

 

8 Responses to Projet Sage Nu

  1. S.C. Hickman says:

    I like your conceptions, remind me of the old Flemish masters in technique or as you say allowing the shapes and forms to dictate the feeling and show the power of imagination rather than the stark and pornographic exploitation see you too much of that leaves little to imagination. The thing I see is the earthiness and naturalness, the sense of a meditative presence in the forms of becoming woman. You’ve captured … that’s not the right word, rather… you’ve released the flesh into its own inner narratives, let it tell a story not as object but as a becoming natural.

    • Thanks so much, Craig, for articulating such a wonderful and thoughtful critique of my work!

      The project is continually evolving, women “of a certain age” are beginning to come forward, expressing a desire to participate, and yesterday after writing and posting the poem, “Requiem for a Grandmother,” I realized that the first public presentation of “Projet Sage Nu” will be a multimedia experience – complete with audio (spoken word poetry), and video. This is a fertile time for me . . . and timely it seems, especially during this troubled period in history where the muse has been exiled and her value forgotten.

      Thank you once again for your considered feedback, and by the way, I VERY MUCH enjoy your poetry and words on “dark ecologies.” I’m looking forward to reading much much more.

      Sincerely,
      Michelle

      Requiem for a Grandmother
      https://michellelariviere.com/2014/09/24/requiem-for-a-grandmother/

      Killing the Muse
      https://michellelariviere.com/2012/08/15/killing-the-muse/

      • S.C. Hickman says:

        I understand. Yes, having recently retired I’ve returned to my early love of poetry. Seems strange that I ever left off when younger, but family, jobs, obligations always seemed to get in the way; yet, I continued to read and ponder and hold it all deep within.

        I feel there is a rising need in young and old for a return to poetry and the older forms melding with the new media in a diverse and various way, which seems to blend the best of word, sound, and picture into some kind of ongoing reawakening of what it means to be human in an inhuman universe.

        I’ll be reading and listening as your new work unfolds, too. 🙂

      • You speak truth.
        It’s so wonderful to encounter a kindred soul here in the virtual universe, where sometimes it seems that no one is listening.
        I’m very happy that you have re-embraced your passion, Craig. Our work is important.
        So very pleased to “meet” you, and am looking forward to a continued dialogue.
        Michelle

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