POESIA CORPORAL BY LANZAROTE ARTIST
a body of work by Adriyana Hodge
previewed by Norman Warwick
Body Poetry (Poesia Corporal) is a selection of her photography reproduced in book form by Adriyana Hodge, a Lanzarote based artist. This was her previous project to her current exhibition of Secret Places Of Lanzarote.
Since the first days of photography, the nude was a source of inspiration for those that adopted the new medium. Most of the early images were closely guarded or surreptitiously circulated as violations of the social norms of the time, since the photograph captures real nudity. Many cultures, while accepting nudity in art, shun actual nudity. For example, even an art gallery which exhibits nude paintings will typically not accept nudity in a visitor. Alfred Cheney Johnston (1885–1971) was a professional American photographer who often photographed Ziegfeld Follies. He also maintained his own highly successful commercial photo studio, producing magazine ads for a wide range of upscale retail commercial products—mostly men’s and women’s fashions—and also photographed several hundred artists and showgirls, including nude photographs of some. Most of his nude images (some named, mostly anonymous) were, in fact, showgirls from the Ziegfeld Follies, but such daring, unretouched, full-frontal images would certainly not have been openly publishable in the 1920s–1930s, so it is speculated that these were either simply his own
personal artistic work, and/or done at the behest of Flo Ziegfeld for the showman’s personal enjoyment.
Glamour photographs emphasize the subject, usually female, in a romantic and most attractive, sexually alluring manner. The subject may be fully clothed or semi-nude, but glamour photography stops short of intentionally sexually arousing the viewer and being pornographic. Before about the 1960s, glamour photography was commonly referred to as erotic photography.
Nudity and sexually suggestive imagery is common in modern-day culture and widely used in advertising to help sell products. A feature of this form of advertising is that the imagery used typically has no connection to the product being advertised. The purpose of such imagery is to attract the attention of a potential customer or user. The imagery used may include nudity, actual or suggestive, and glamour photography.
Covers of mainstream magazines sometimes include images of nude or semi-nude subjects. In the early 1990s, Demi Moore posed for two covers of Vanity Fair: Demi’s Birthday Suit and More Demi Moore. Some magazines, such as men’s magazines, commonly feature nude or semi-nude images, and some magazines have created a reputation for their nude centrefolds.
Music album covers often incorporate photography, at times including nude or semi-nude images. Album covers that have incorporated nudity have included those of performers such as Jimi Hendrix (Electric Ladyland, 1968), John Lennon and Yoko Ono (Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins, 1968), Nirvana, Blind Faith (Blind Faith, 1969), Scorpions (Virgin Killer, 1976) and Jane’s Addiction (Nothing’s Shocking, 1988). The covers for Blind Faith and Virgin Killer were especially controversial because the nude images were of prepubescent girls, and were re-issued with alternative covers in some countries.
However, the emphasis of fine arts is aesthetics and creativity; and any erotic interest, although often present, is secondary. This distinguishes nude photography from both glamour photography and pornographic photography. The distinction between these is not always clear, and photographers tend to use their own judgment in characterizing their own work, though viewers also have their judgement. The nude remains a controversial subject in all media, but more so with photography, perhaps, due to its inherent realism. The male nude has been less common than the female, and more rarely exhibited.
Early fine-art photographers in Western cultures, seeking to establish photography as a fine-art medium, frequently chose women as the subjects for their nudes, in poses that accorded with traditional practice in other media. Before nude photography, art nudes usually used allusions to classical antiquity; gods and warriors, goddesses and nymphs. Poses, lighting, soft focus, vignetting and hand – retouching were employed to create photographic images that were comparable to the other arts at that time. Although 19th-century artists in other media often used photographs as substitutes for live models, the best of these photographs were also intended as works of art in their own right.
After World War I, avant-garde photographers such as Brassaï, Man Ray, Hans Bellmer, André Kertész and Bill Brandt became more experimental in their portrayal of nudity, using reflective distortions and printing techniques to create abstractions or depicting real life rather than classical allusions. Alfred Stieglitz‘s photos of Georgia O’Keeffe are examples of some of the earliest nudes presented in an intimate and personal style rather than with dispassionate idealization. Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, Ruth Bernhard, Harry Callahan, Emmet Gowin and Edward Steichen continued this trend. Weston evolved a particularly American aesthetic, using a large format camera to capture images of nature and landscapes as well as nudes, establishing photography as a fine-arts medium. In 1937 Weston became the first photographer to be awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.[ For a famous example of Weston’s work see: Charis Wilson. Many fine-art photographers have a variety of subjects in their work, the nude being one. Diane Arbus was attracted to unusual people in unusual settings, including a nudist camp. Lee Friedlander had more conventional subjects, one being Madonna as a young model.
The distinction between fine art and glamour is often one of marketing, with fine art being sold through galleries or dealers in limited editions signed by the artist, and glamour photos being distributed through mass media. For some, the difference is in the gaze of the model; glamour models look into the camera, while art models do not. Glamour and fashion photographers have aspired to fine-art status in some of their work. One such photographer was Irving Penn, who progressed from Vogue magazine to photographing fashion models such as Kate Moss nude. Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and Annie Leibovitz have followed a similar path with portraits of the famous, many of them nude or partially clothed. In the post-modern era, where fame is often the subject of fine art, Avedon’s photo of Nastassja Kinski with a python, and Leibovitz’s magazine covers of Demi Moore pregnant and in body paint have become iconic. The work of Joyce Tenneson has gone the other way, from fine art with a unique, soft-focus style showing women at all stages of life to portraiture of famous people and fashion photography.
Although nude photographers have largely worked within established forms that show bodies as sculptural abstractions, some, such as Robert Mapplethorpe, have created works that deliberately blur the boundaries between erotica and art.
Several photographers have become controversial because of their nude photographs of underage subjects. David Hamilton often used erotic themes. Sally Mann was raised in rural Virginia, in a locale where skinny-dipping in a river was common, so many of her most famous photographs are of her own children swimming in the nude. Less well-known photographers have been charged as criminals for photos of their own children.
Body image has become a topic explored by many photographers working with models whose bodies do not conform to conventional prejudices about beauty.
Currently negotiating the sidetracks and detours of nude photography at the moment is Adriyana Hodge, an artist working here on Lanzarote. In 2021 she published a superb collection of nude photographs, each accompanied by a poem written by the poet Carlos Calatayud Prats.
An introduction offered on the opening page by photographer Lella Carriere tell us that
Adriyana´s personality is a fascinating mix of spirituality and materialism.
I had the opportunity to meet her as a model for several photoshoots, a collaboration that continues to this day. Today, as a photographer myself, I have the pleasure of introducing Adriyana´s photographic exhibition.
She was born in Croatia and in 1991 she immigrated to South Africa with her family where she lived for 22 years. In 2012 she moved to the UK and since 2014 she has settled in Lanzarote where she still resides. This exhibition shows us her vision of human beings in their extreme essentiality, perfectly blended with the wonderful wild nature of the island of Lanzarote (unique to its kind, compared to all the Canary Islands). Bodies that blend harmoniously with the volcanic rocks, the incredible clear sky and the majestic ocean.
To be simple and clear; it´s a fantastic story… I hope it will be appreciated by others as much as it has been by me.
Adriyana herself writes on the book´s closing page that
As an adolescent I was fascinated by the human body ad I often attempted drawing nude dancers, but freestyle drawing wasn´t my speciality. Expressing my art through photography is a totally different story though.
My younger daughter Teea (who is an excellent Artist) was my inspiration and motivation. As she had completed her Art Degree and was studying photography at the time, we would often play around with the camera and exchange ideas. In our playground of posing, and later taking and editing thousands, I finally decided on my style category – “Nude Art”.
This project signifies the beginning of my photographic career. I have never held an exhibition before nor have I formally studied photography; however, I have always had an “eye” for subjects and having decided to pursue photography as a career I started to play my first exposition.
I decided to name my project “Body Poetry” and assign an authentic poem to each image portraying messages of hope. My spiritual background allows me to observe and express the captured soul, and in the case of this project, the message too.
In this uncertain world that we are living in today, what better way to portray a message than through a naked, unveiled human body After all, our bare body is the only object we genuinely possess.
As my project was underway, I wondered how I would find a poet to compose pieces of writing for the photographs of images I wanted to portray. In the meanwhile, I contacted Carlos regarding a different topic and as we started talking, my project became the subject of our conversation (synchronicity as incredible and the Universe is amazing you had better believe it!)
He immediately agreed to collaborate with me and quickly grasped the concept of my visions and understood exactly what I was trying to portray.
He has created amazing pieces of poetry for this project. The poem Drago Protector was written for the photograph that features on the cover of Poesia Corporal.
His knowledge of human mythology is incredible and with his profound vocabulary he was able to passionately express exactly what I had envisioned. Our combined synergies created this wonderful project, which most definitely will be a continuous one as there are so many beautiful photographs waiting to be exhibited from my collection.
I already have many other photographs ready and will soon start compiling follow on sequences – Body Poetry II and Body Poetry III.
I have also started working on two more projects simultaneously, which will flow after Body Poetry. The ideas seem to flow and I´m hoping to continue my commitment and enjoyment of photography.
I have confidence that you will have enjoyed and appreciated this project, this gift, as much as I have.
Love & Gratitude
It struck us immediately on arriving at Secret Places Of Lanzarote , the collection exhibiting at Julio´s In Costa Teguise, that Adriyana enjoys working collaboratively with a team.At the opening night there was a crowd including, members of her family, AJ the DJ Hendry from Monster Radio 99.9 fm, local writer and artists Jenny Graham, Rebecca, Sylvia, and tour guide and excellent writer David Penny.
This kind of teamwork seems evident, too, in her earlier, as Posia Corporal includes a pretty comprehensive list of those who helped bring the boo to publication.
Adryana´s skill in putting such teams together actually tells us much about what sort of artist she is.
By first identifying and then putting together the people with neccessary skill sets she believes could make a project work, allows her to partner with artists from different genres as well as those from the business sector whoi can bring her project to fruition and identify venues and audiences.
That this is a template that works is evidenced by the quality of tnot only the content by also the presentation of the books Posia Corporal in such professional form.
A look at the list of credits and acknowledgements from the book (left) indicates that Ariyana is well aware of the benefits of working with people with the right professional attitude to present her work in an always intriguing, but also always accessible manner.
The wisdom of Socrates reminds us that
the secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new.
Being restlessly intrigued is part of the DNA of many artists, and even so soon after the success of last year´s publication, Adriyana has taken the work a few steps further down sidetracks & detours, with some of the photographs now being included, along with newer work in an exhibition called Secret Places Of Lanzarote. The exhibition is showing until the end of November at Julio´s Tap Room Bar in Costa Teguise.
We recently attended the inaugural night of this current exhibition on what was a genuinely buzzing evening in a more than hospitable bar venue, with the exhibits well-displayed, and a back catalogue of prints and proofs just asking to be rummaged through. The artist, too, was impressed by and grateful to all those who turned out for the event, as she described the following morning on facebook.
The inaugural night of the exhibition had taken place on Saturday 27th August at Julio´s Tap Room Bar in Costa Teguise, and as a journalist who has covered quite a few of such events I was amazed to find a packed room, with a pub atmosphere and lots of people chattering excitedly about the work on display,….and to be honest there was quite a lot on display, because this was an exhibition of nude photography. And yet there was far less on display than we might have feared or hoped, as the exhibition changed a lot of my preconceptions and prejudices about this art form.
The opening ceremony was so busy and exciting that Sidetracks And Detours re-arranged our interview for the following week, when Adriyana was able to give us a personalised guided tour of the works being shown.
Adriyana constantly drew attention to important aspects of the landscape surrounding the model, the inter-action between herself the photographer and the model and the effects of the locations on the posed scene. She was receptive to our questions and even to our arguments about what the photographs represented to us. As a literary artist and theorist I was particularly interested in the relationship between photographer and her subject and who, if anyone, owned the pose.We will bring you that exclusive collection of the artist´s own thoughts later this month. We thoroughly enjoyed the chat and we are sure our readers will too.
It will speak of secrets, lullabies, legends and lies, and of fairy tales, myth and magic.
The Secret Places Of Lanzarote is running through to the end of November at Julio´s Tap Room Bat in Costa Teguise, Lanzarote-