If variety is the spice of life, this MetArt gallery is very spicy, indeed. “Tactile” opens with a series of intriguing images. Here three types of light are used to create rich, graphically complex compositions. Nikia A., totally nude from the start, is stripped with light and shadow coming from somewhere behind the photographer. In the deep background muted daylight is visible through a window. And on a wall an electric light fixture glows warmly. The only props here are a hairbrush and a golden throw pillow. If the set consisted solely of variations on these elements it would have been completely satisfying.
That is not the case, however. Beginning at #041, the setting, lighting, and costuming change completely. Nikia A. is now wearing a white terry cloth robe, next to a white bed, in a brightly lit room. And her blonde locks are elaborately wrapped up in red and pink hair rollers. For added interest, but without explanation, she toys with a single black stocking.
This second section could also stand alone as a series based on its own merits. This is less moody than the earlier images in the set, and also far more explicit. The lighting reveals all and Rylsky can put the visual emphasis where he wants it by, for example, keeping the foreground in crisp focus while letting Nikia’s face, in the background, subtly blur (see #077). The bright light and lack of shadows also allows the model to express herself quite directly, and in a shot like #071 her relaxed personality is easy to appreciate.
In the very last shots in this diverse collection the props are gone, the background is now a pale green, and Rylsky moves in for some simple and effective headshots. “Tactile” offers many tempting choices.