'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'* are an important part of my work 'Discovering the Beauty of the Cyclades'. Other than land and seascapes, I have enjoyed photographing the complexity of the female form finding my innermost creative self along the way.
Here, we do not see the woman's elegant black dress, she is less protected, more exposed, central in theme, unlike many of the 'Visitor' galleries which came later. 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 and I learned to anticipate her movements. Places I'd previously noticed, but not ventured towards, became excellent locations to capture what till then were just ideas.
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 humanity in the Cyclades. The small empty house in which it is situated was built, possibly centuries ago, using elements from the surrounding fields high on a hill far inside the island's interior. The woman's capacity in expressions and gestures to communicate a natural sense of self 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 ability to show life many years before, becomes a prop offering colour contrast and shape uniquely different to the other characteristics in the scene. The striking red of the female figure's robe is emphatically intensified by powerful sunlight.
Portrait of a Lady was the inevitable title of this decidedly expressive black and white gallery situated in a rarely visited building by the sea abandoned decades ago.
A Day of Changes embraces September sunshine: golden grass unites with the strong red tone of the woman's garment creating an expression of natural female grace .
Field of Gold's attractive setting offers a view towards Amorgos island, north-eastwards 58 km across the deep blue Aegean. The tree of Ios stands alone, Crete is far to its 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, a centuries-old Phoenician Juniper, on the edge of the golden field and expresses her joy of the encounter.
Burnt Terraces saw careful exploration on land charred recently by a three-day fire which devastated much of north-west Ios, exposing terraces and walls hidden till then under centuries of Cycladic flora. The setting was highly particular with the model suitably covered in a long black veil.
Lost Lady of Sikinos, Neiko Photographed at the church of Episkopi on the western side of Sikinos, this was the only occasion in which the model wore classical Greek costume. Quite a coincidence seeing that an ancient tomb dating back 1,800 years containing a woman of nobility was recently discovered (July 2018) in the lower section of the church, hidden between two walls. If I say I felt a feminine presence at the site of Episkopi at the time of photographing two years earlier, I hope I'm believable. The images exist so I can speak with conviction.
Corner View expresses natural freedom in movement of the female form. The deserted location's simplicity, brightness, opaque colours and gentle landscape background create an encoraging setting.
Other Beauty of the Female Kind Galleries:
House of Stones, Small Bay of the Cyclades
*N.B. 'Beauty of the Female Kind' galleries are exclusive single print editions for collectors and art galleries accessed via a password.