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Platinum prince by Dawn Sumner, from Ag31

Dazeley has chosen to reproduce in platinum two subjects that clearly lend themselves to the process. His anamorphic nudes have a surreal quality to them. The lens has distorted the female shape in such away that the accentuated arms and legs seem alien-like on a human form that is in every other way familiar to the viewer. Dazeley describes his nude photography as non-sexual; this proposition is supported by there being no female gaze towards the camera. Dazeley’s method of working gives his models the freedom to suggest poses and he is keen for them to feel comfortable with their bodies. ‘My work is really an appreciation of the female form. I am looking for a facial expression, a hand gesture or an awkwardness to the body. I shoot a lot of Polaroids and let the model see them; she can then decide what she likes about her body.’

Because this is a shared decision it is not exclusively Dazeley who determines the frame of reference. All of his models look as though they are in control of the situation, retaining power over their own bodies. Several of his female nudes are pregnant and the effect of the anamorphic lens is a reduction in the size of the ‘bump’. ‘I love the idea of manipulating things that don’t look weird but obviously suggest that something is not quite right.’ Masks are a reoccurring theme in his female nudes. Its effect can be interpreted in many ways: a mask can create a new identity, conceal the truth, or allow the model to remain absent because the face cannot be seen, and so no facial expression is interpreted by the viewer. In Dazeley’s work the mask combined the anamorphic technique creates a form that viewers can no longer compare with their own bodes leaving the identity of the model in crisis.

In contrast to the distortion of his nudes, Dazeley’s floral prints are a pure form that is in keeping with early definitions of fine art photography. Each image is a study of shape and texture and is an appreciation of the perfection found in nature. ‘There are some beautiful flowers and the way the structure is recorded on film and platinum is amazing. When I shot the back of a sunflower there were these wonderful shades of grey,’ he enthuses. By taking away the colour, Dazeley has concentrated on the minute details of the structure of each petal on a rose, drawing the viewer to an appreciation that might otherwise be missed if it were anything other than his chosen interpretation. Next Page >>

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A selection from the featured images. Click on the detail to view full frame. All images Peter Dazeley

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