All rights reserved L.Mikelle Standbridge



Photo-Bodies: In Between the Edge of a Stitched Soul, 2015 – 2021


I am profoundly interested in Photography and this interest informs my subject matter and presentation choices. This series, Photo-Bodies, is in part dedicated to what has probably been photography’s most astounding characteristic and that is – in the form of portraiture or a “likeness”- having the uncanny, powerful potential of alluding to the non-visible, an emanation (such as a personality, a soul, an aura of a person). By photographing people, especially people who have undergone alterations to their bodies or whose lives are dominated by their appearance, this body of work hovers around the question of physicality (what it might reveal, what it might cover up).

Also intriguing to me is the way we have viewed photographs. The presentation of photography has a long history with surfaces (both with the negative and the print), from paper negatives, silver coated copper, tin, glass plates, film, and albumen paper, gelatin-silver paper, and now ink jet pigments on digital paper. This later, digital photography paper, has a strong material presence due to the ‘grammage’ (paper density) and the 100% cotton, pliable base. Today’s paper may be said to offer a carnal presence because it is pulpy, absorbent, flexible, scratchable, tearable, pierceable, stitchable, dyeable, waxable – all characteristics that lend themselves to a concept of “body”.

As an experimental inquiry into representing embodiment, as limited editions but nevertheless one-of-a-kind photo-sculptures, the works vary in size and depth, ranging from a few centimeters to a few meters and vary equally in style, potentially being wrapped, tied up, warped, folded, or stuffed. Certain pieces are also designed to have changeable positions and interchangeable parts. All of them are very delicate and often hand stitched. Notwithstanding the fragile nature, a patina is rigorously applied, reminiscent of burnished leather, permitting the paper work to be viewed without a glass covering. This direct presence, this immediacy, this invitingly tactile quality, is a key part of the “Photo-Body” concept.

There is a muted, quasi-monochromatic palette, made up of predominantly browns, greys, and blacks with an occasional chalky pastel or velvety Pompeii red, that seems to behold as holy the crepuscular years of the medium’s invention in the early 1800′s.  Yet, given the manipulation of the materials paralleled by the subjects’ counter culture body manipulation or latest surgery, one could say there is a “retro-contemporary” feel to the work.

Photography is an impenetrable mix of solidified tradition and a constantly renewed identity.