These sensuous and stunningly beautiful (and ever so slightly NSFW) images were made by Fine Art Photographer, Marc Lagrange, and have opened a vein of controversy for me that I hadn’t expected. I adore them, absolutely, but like everything fascinating, they have a tale behind them.
Lagrange, from Belgium, is an exhibitor at France’s Opiom Gallery, where his show, “Diamonds & Pearls”, opens tonight and runs from May 22nd to July 15th. When I spoke to the gallery’s owner, the fragrant and artistically eagle-eyed Eve (she who discovered and first exhibited JeeYoung Lee’s magnificent rooms, which I featured a few weeks ago) she asked me just one important question. “Is a nipple erotic?”
“Is a nipple erotic?“
I scrambled mentally for an answer, but, truthfully, I couldn’t find one. Only more questions. What is the definition of too erotic, or indeed, erotic, and exactly where is the dividing line between sensuous and beautiful? What about breastfeeding mothers? Like that. Straight on through society’s crazy mores and the way women are represented in media. And I consider female rights a given.
With the real-life controversy raging in the fashion world today, concerning model’s rights and photographer’s wrongs, are the women simply, to take the title of the main image, “Entertainment”? (Incidentally, I love this image because it reminds me so much of the equally controversial Josephine Baker, temptress of her day, whom I discussed a while ago!)
Whew. But many a supermodel has posed in a bikini for a giant billboard ad for say, H&M or Gucci or.. fill in the blank, I reasoned, surely these are no different? In which direction would you like your work to go, the other voice answered (Yes, these two voices are both mine!)
And finally, “Did you not attend life drawing classes at art school, yes? And so?”
[Tweet “Where is the dividing line between sensuous & beautiful?””]
In the end, Art triumphed. The sumptuously erotic nature of these images is something to celebrate, and the women in them look cosseted and most importantly, strong. Also, some in the collection court more controversy than others… I’ll leave it at that. (See the exhibition yourself.)
Marc Lagrange, like his predecessor, Helmut Newton before him, simply an avid and brilliantly talented admirer of female beauty.. Or? You decide.
As Opiom put it:
Evocative, sensual and voluptuous, Marc Lagrangeʼs work celebrates beauty and pleasure. The Antwerp-based photographer, who has a predilection for nudes and portraits, creates luxurious and timeless environments where eroticism and intimacy play a central part.
The chemistry Lagrange has with his models sets him apart from other photographers. He gets them to reveal parts of themselves in a trusting atmosphere, envisioning the shoot as the ultimate performance act. Losing their inhibitions in front of the camera, his models turn into characters, echoing Lagrangeʼs cinematic references.
Although they bare it all, his women retain their sense of mystery and elusive charm, making them even more attractive.
On a rather delicious side note, the gallery is in Opio, situated near Cannes. I can think of no better means to while away a languorous summer weekend in the South Of France, than visiting the two, can you? Call the gallery, they’ll show you the way.
In the end, Art triumphed.
UPDATE: On the Passing of Marc Lagrange – Marc Lagrange, A Passion For Beauty
FIND MARC LAGRANGE: