Maegan Kira Sundlie
"As a fashion photographer, I am obsessed with the provocative power of the female form, not just the allure of classic beauty, but creating images that border on the bizarre, disquieting, raw, and even incendiary. My aesthetic falls outside the boundaries of convention; I might find something sublime in the “ugly,” elegant in the contorted, and beauty in brokenness. I explore femininity as performance and the various ways women balance the pressure to conform with a powerful need to express their individuality, sexuality, and truth. Though at times a dark and heavy topic, my work is marked by a dreamy, pastel palette, diaphanous fabrics, and a sense of motion, choreography, and light. "
My series, “Another Skin,” evokes the feelings most women experience at some point in their lives as they grapple with their own identity and sense of beauty in relation to society. This powerful desire to be considered attractive and feminine, combined with the pressure to conform, exacts a high price. Beauty is pain…In many of my images, the female model represents that ideal body standard, yet there is a simultaneous struggle to free herself from a false skin. Her tights mimic skin being pulled off, fabric suffocates and sticks to her body, obscuring it. Even though her entire form is covered, including her face, the viewer can discern that the features are feminine. It’s as if her personality has no value–she is only the sum of her womanly parts. In some images she appears to be wrestling with the fabric, against herself as much as the bindings that objectify her. And yet somehow she often looks at ease in this discomfort. I find that it is this toxic relationship with oneself–falling in love with the pain for the momentary high of someone’s positive reaction, or even just the hope of that response–that creates the trap. After I encase my models in fabric, I direct them to push, stretch and pull hard within the cocoon as if attempting to break free. It’s this naked vulnerability with a false cover I am attempting to capture, an enigmatic creature caught in a bewitching dance.