Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Traci and Ashley deserve your respect.

You know what? We are home to a couple of the planet's most criminally underrated photographers. Who just happen to be exhibitionists/voyeurs. And (perhaps inadvertent) maverick feminists. Kiss goodbye to Puritan America, that's for sure.

Meet Traci Matlock and Ashley MacLean. Up until this past June, they served time blogging as "Rose and Olive" on the 'edgy' national cultural website Nerve.

They're a duo of seemingly inseparable photographers who document (and stage) their lifestyle. It's hard to tell their sexual identity apart from their photography identity, but that's not really the point.

Is there a point? There is, and they have themes (how else you gonna get funded?) I'll just let others do the academa-cizing, 'sides the themes are readily apparent. What we have here is snapshots of tawdry, portraits of tawdry, polaroids of Is-that-a-body-part-or-a-piece-of-fruit?, videos that should be pulled, tongue-in-cheek fun (pun intended), completely innocent nakedness, some not so serious, and some deadly.

The medium chosen is whatever is handy, apparently. Polaroid, black and white, medium format, point-and-shoot (hell, yeah) natural light, harsh flash, and always film (I think). Handy and quick gives the photos their un-contrived apeal.The wealth of images is also indicative. Of something, I'm not sure what. Does it matter? Sex is what brings all the visual themes together via woodsy settings, front porches, swimming pools, sand, scars, indentations, fruit, and people many of whom are not 'classically' beautiful (LOVE that).

Here's what else I adore: they explore sexuality without ever questioning or challenging moraes. Traci and Ashley take photos and/or have sex with friends and strangers alike and it's not ever treated as edgy or private. It's perfectly natural. Or it's a celebration. Or a good way to pass the time. Or an act of humility, depending on who is on the receiving end.

Their body of work (and especially the Nerve images from the last year and a half) has a love-the-one-you're-with meets Mae-West-feminism kind of appeal, if you catch my drift. And I adore that they adore one another. Of course it's this kind of no-zone, laissez faire, sexually charged photography that could only be born of Houston. I'm telling you, it's in the water.

I could go on and on about them but just go to their newest blog titled The Ingoing. Trust me, these are NSFW.

And if you're into photography documentaries, go here! This looks like a good one. I'm going to score a copy for sure when it becomes available.

We share a love of Eggleston. And a darkroom. And an interest in the seedier side. As friends, as peers, I'm happy just knowing they're somewhere in my town. I know these things don't last forever, but a toast to the here and now and the one you're with. Cheers!


Roberto Cofresí said...

Fantastic stuff! thanks for bringing them to my attention.

Ash LaRose said...

Ahh, they are my favorite...