Introduction to
'Beauty of the Female Kind'

A few notes about my work in these galleries
by Mark Wilman

The galleries in 'Beauty of the Female Kind' were the motivation for my work 'Discovering the Beauty of Ios and Sikinos' to begin. Landscapes were not enough, no matter how appealing. I needed the complexity of the female form and her personality in order to find my expression. I felt no desire to provoke, but rather the want to discover beauty further.

We do not see her elegant black dress, she is less protected, more exposed, central in theme, unlike in many of the 'Visitor' galleries, which came after. The locations were searched for along these lines, i.e. not panoramic, but rather supportive of her expression. She learned to interact with the surroundings, not so easy to do effectively. I learned to be more knowing of what to look for in advance of situations and began to imagine opportunities in places little known to me, but where I'd experienced particular visual engagement when passing on previous occasions.

The magic was being on Ios alone time after time, undisturbed and able to accomplish freely what we were both striving to do as individuals: human expression versus mechanical capture from camera clicking instinct. Each location encouraged discovery, whispered details of its history: an antiquated wall almost entirely hidden under plant growth, branches of a long lived tree rustling their sounds in the light summer wind, a voice of nature.

Taking Shelter is highly expressive, I believe, because it's able to represent a past dating back to the early beginnings of mankind in the Cyclades. The small empty house in which it is situated was built, possibly centuries ago, using elements from the surrounding field high on a hill far inside the interior of Ios. The model's capacity, in expressions and gestures, to express naturally inherent innocence compliments the simplicity of her surroundings creating an atmosphere far from the modern world of today.

Island Bus Stop wishes to tease. This leafless tree which lost its capacity to show life years ago becomes a main prop offering colour contrast and shape uniquely different to the other characteristic elements inside the scene. The striking red of the female figure's robe is emphatically brought to greater intensity by the powerful sun rays high above.

Poor Girl looks to discover the beauty of the essential female form inside an environment of stark simplicity. It does not intend to offend poverty. During my three and a half years dedicated to this photo project, I have experienced, on a number of occasions, the realities of a far simpler lifestyle than I've known before.

Portrait of a Lady was the immediate and inevitable title of this gallery upon its completion. Not many of the original set have been included but what remain are significantly worth their place.

Wall of Stones captivates, in my opinion. The September light, though bright, doesn't overpower the details, almost infinite, of the ancient island wall as it encounters the model's graceful expressiveness creating an atmosphere of true feminine beauty in a secluded and unknown part of Ios.

Field of Gold is such an attractive setting with its view directly onto Amorgos island, north-eastwards 58 km, across the deep blue Aegean. The tree of Ios stands alone with Crete far to the south, visible only on rare days, perhaps three or four times per year when the setting sun turns the southern horizon into a wall of dark extending rock 160 km in the distance. The woman discovers the tree inside the field of gold and expresses the beauty the impact of the encounter has on her.

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