Photographs by Chad States.
Self Published, 2013. 14 pp., 13 illustrations, 16x16".
Signed copies available!
Chad States’ The Sunbathers consists of thirteen portraits of men in the process of undressing. Both indulging and complicating the classical depiction of the female bather, States uses the devices of lush light and landscape as a nod to painterly tradition while also upending the gender of the canonized subject. Here, our eyes fall instead upon men in various states of reveal. The bend of the torso to remove a sock while standing, the sweep of the arm in the release of a shirt- these photographic fractions of movements freeze States’ subjects in a range of gestures that combine and crystallize awkwardness with elegance, vulnerability with power, and humility with sensuality. Sequenced next to one another in an accordion fold book, a clumsy and beautiful dance begins to unfold from page to page, body to body. And though compassionately bathed in the raking light of an afternoon sun, it becomes increasingly clear as the dance rises and falls that the power ultimately lies with States: the stage has been constructed, the dancer’s desire harnessed, the movements directed, and the moment wrested as States gently pulls the strings behind the camera to create photographs that are as uncomfortable as the are beautiful.