Photography is not a fine art, John Bergerwrote, “unless we include those absurd studio works in which the photographer arranges every detail of his [sic] subject before he [sic] takes the picture.” While only one of the five photographers featured in “Future Feminine,” Amanda Charchian, happens to work in commercial fashion photography—where detailed tableaux of objects and people are de rigueur—Remy Holwick and the duo of Prue Stent and Honey Long shoot portraiture whose audacious arrangements and costume would not be out of place in the pages of Vogue.
Charchian’s series “7 Types Of Love,” 2015–17, channels classical sublimity in the guise of pulp to imbue BDSM imagery with radical tenderness. In 7 Types of Love, Pragma 1, 2017, a naked woman, hands gloved in supple leather and cuffed at the wrist, cradles two eggs. In 7 Types of Love, Mania, 2017, a sheet of plastic suspended between model and lens—she gasps for air, clutches at her chest—confronts the viewer with the arousing alarm of erotic asphyxiation. 7 Types of Love, Agape, 2017, a quadriptych in red, evokes the cinematic iconography of Man Ray vis-à-vis the female gaze; disembodied lips bleed into the ether.
Stent and Long’s works drop the archetypal Venus figure into the Anthropocene: In Venus Milk, 2015, she is draped in a pink sheet, heavily windblown, emerging not from a clamshell but from a Pepto-pink tide pool. Elsewhere, Holwick’s dramatic portraits of models dressed in jubilant drag—Velvet Moon #3, #7, and Portrait of Artist Millie Brown (all 2016)—could be stills from a haute-couture reboot of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain (1973) but were in fact all shot at the Savage Ranch, the queer artist and designer Love Bailey’s commune in the desert south of Los Angeles.