I discovered Idan’s project by coincidence… I didn’t know him. First, the concept appealed to me: to take pictures of strangers, with no restrictions, as if it were an inventory. I liked that systematic and hazardous choice. And what’s more, to photograph them nude, it is to photograph them as they really are, with no taboos–no artful devices.
I also liked the idea of posing nude because it’s both natural (that’s what we are like) and quite “exceptional” (the public nude is restricted to specific times and places). Because it is disturbing.
When you are naked in front of a stranger who examines you from behind his lens, it weakens you. You feel vulnerable. But the paradox is that you also feel stronger. Undressing in front of somebody you do not know and with whom you do not keep emotional ties nor complicity is somewhat absurd. You strip on the sly. But once you are naked, you become a hero. You become somebody, a model, a subject. You transcend yourself. Nude is traditionally linked with art: painting, sculpture, dancing, shows, photos… Otherwise, you enter people’s privacy. When you sit nude, you belong to art. But art has nothing to do with beauty. And the anonymous model doesn’t need to be handsome to become art. I wasn’t even interested in the “beauty aspect” of the photos (and yet they are beautiful) but in that desire of his not to choose and to bet that deep inside of us, there is something that tells of our real self. A photo is not beautiful because it is aesthetical (unless aesthetics should be the only target) but because it gets close to the truth. I talked of all that (of his whole project) at length with Idan, through mails, before I made the appointment. I enjoyed the sitting. Once you’re naked, you no longer belong to you. You exist in the other’s eyes and I was curious and eager to see that expression in those eyes. Therefore I obediently took up the postures Idan suggested. I was no longer reluctant nor embarrassed. You obediently stare motionless, at an image of you can’t perceive. You offer the photographer your intimacy, your easy-going attitude, your fragility and, in exchange, the photographer gives you his look. And that look makes you different. I could have been shameless when I posed. Maybe I would have liked to be so. The body and its secrets no longer matter, though they remain the very topic subject of the photo. What matters when you pose is the intensity of the expression of the eyes when people rest them on you. You want to expose yourself as much as possible to be captured as well as possible.
When I came in his studio, I was well aware that I was the oldest of his models and I wanted him to give an account of my withered body. I was also interested to see how Idan would react before that waning body as so far, he had only photographed young models. While I was sitting, I quickly understood that he would not attempt to tone down or to conceal my wrinkles with the device of the light. And that he attempted to grasp my real self. The emotion lies in that truth he managed to find. I loved the photo he chose at once. I like the contrast between my severe look and my relaxed body. When I look at it, I feel again the very emotion I felt when I was posing before him. It was magic and I won’t forget…