/09 Adolescence

Mona Kuhn

Venezia 2010

“In this Palazzo,
the souls hear,
the breath of beauty,
perpetuating itself like the tide,
which washes the marble beneath”

It is a privilege for me to be able to photograph close friends and extended family in the nude, honest and free. I photograph the nude as a natural essence of who we are. I see the body as a residence to our emotions, our soul, our inner selves. For me, there is a huge difference between naked and nude. Someone feels naked when caught off guard and/or in a vulnerable situation. The nude to me is always clothed, clothed with art historyreferences all around, almost in a way that it cannot escape it. The nude I am interested presents an inner strength and confidence that keeps them from “feeling naked”. You can see that in my work, in the natural positions and in the confident eyes of the people I photograph. I began taking photographs at age 12, when my parents gave me a small Kodak camera for my birthday. The first images were of my friends during that day. In a way, little has changed. I like to photograph people I have known for a while, or good friends of friends of mine. I find people thru word of mouth, someone’s boyfriend, sister, cousin. It feels more intimate, a bit like an extended family. I start my creative process by imagining colors. I don’t know why, but coloration comes to me first. From there I tie in emotion, then location and last the people. I might be working months into a project before I find the right person to photograph. This preliminary phase gives me time to submerge, to really feel andbring out what I am trying to say, what I am trying to express. By the time I start photographing people, Ialready know what I want, the visual vocabulary is matured, so photographing people feels natural and in line with the overall emotion I am trying to convey. I mostly photograph during the magic hours at sunrise and the last 2 hours before sunset. It is not just the lighting, I think we feel different during those moments, as if emotions could stand still for a few minutes. It is beautiful to capture that feeling. I photograph the human in us, without shame, without regret, free and timeless.