Anonymous n.d.

While recovering from a year-long illness, I spent a lot of time looking through photography books. Some of the most arresting portraits, dated 1890 -1910 are titled “Anonymous”, meaning no information survives concerning the maker or subject. 

Their presence made an indelible impression and I found myself thinking about them throughout the day. Who were they and what brought them to the photographer’s studio? Posing nude for the camera, especially at that time, suggests a trusting relationship between photographer and subject, but were the images made for private collectors or as formal studies of the human body for painters? Were they keepsakes of a private moment?

Such mysteries remain unanswered. I begin rephotographing them using a variety of techniques. Then I started sewing and embroidering clothing to match an alternate mis en scene. For me, it is a gesture akin to clothing a stranger.

Several works in this series are still in progress.