All images © Carrie Levy
This project came across my desk a few days ago via one of our contributing writers, Susan Bright. Both beautiful and poetic, it is also disquieting and dark. It’s serious stuff, in the sense that it addresses some of the underlying tensions of photography – namely the politics of representation – not in an obvious way, but by various subtle and beguiling means.
“For my latest body of work, You Before All (2008-present), says Levy, “my photographs continue to concentrate on my camera’s ability to harshly manipulate its subjects while controlling their bodies and emotions. The simple approach and ominous tone in this series introduces two paradoxical states: pain and ecstasy along side villain and victim. As the photographer, I want the viewer to question my motives as they experience the potential harm or pleasure inflicted upon my models. Being a female artist and the authority behind this work, I chose solely male subjects in order to enhance the submissive nature of the imagery.
You Before All questions the line that separates pain from pleasure. The work magnifies how in the moment it is hard to decipher between these two very different emotions. Both are intense, but are very much the opposite of another.The aim in this body of work is to ask the viewer to uncover which one of these emotions is behind a single frame and where he or she is more sympathetic. Throughout the series, my role as the photographer is to play the part of the predator. I contort my subjects to look like victims. However, whether they are victims of pain or pleasure is up to the viewer to decide.”
Carrie Levy is a photographer and a photo editor based in Brooklyn, New York. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2000 and her MFA from The Royal College of Art, London, in 2005. She is represented by Daniel Cooney Fine Art since 2002 and has exhibited throughout the US, Asia, and Europe. Trolley Books published her first monograph in 2005 titled 51 Months. Her next solo show opens at Daniel Cooney on 17 February 2011. Besides widely exhibiting her works, Levy has also been a photo editor at numerous publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. Today she is a freelance senior photo editor at GQ magazine. Levy is part-time professor of photography at the School of Visual Arts.