MetArt contributing photographer Arkisi has made some rather interesting choices in this erotic photo series. I might also describe those choices as challenging, curious, as well as mysterious. Perhaps the most obvious of these choices is the costume he’s dressed his model in. Rachel Blau wears a dramatic black body stocking ventilated with circular holes. Owing to the stretchy nature of the fabric the holes at her ankles, for example, are the size of small coins, the holes around her hips are much larger. While every aspect of the model’s anatomy is clearly visible through this barely there garment, the stocking stays in place for the entirety of “Malengo.” As I mentioned, curious.
Perhaps the greatest challenge the artist has brought upon himself is the room he’s shooting in. It’s a small, somewhat cramped sitting room in a garret or converted attic space. The walls are dark as is the heavy leather and wood furniture. There is a bit of natural light from a curtained window, but the primary light source is a pair of lamps. Strangely, although they are similar in design, one glows white, the other a dingy orange color. So Rachel Blau, wearing her dramatic bodystocking, is forced to pose in this dim, dark, not particularly pleasant or appealing little room. Curious.
The various curious aspects of the set are well presented in #021 - the lamps throwing their strange shadows on the ceiling, the colored walls, the furnishings, and Rachel Blau in her dramatic and unusual outfit attempting to make sense of it all. Another bizarre moment is captured in #052, her backside to the camera, thighs out of focus, hair hanging down, face in shadow, as she looks back at the camera. It’s certainly an unusual composition, I’ll grant Arkisi that much.
There are highlights to be found in “Malengo,” however. #037 is a cute, sideways headshot, for example. And there’s ample cuteness on display in #084, a modest but creatively posed shot with plenty of visual appeal as well as personality. And the explicit shots, including #030, #075, #094, and #120, provide enticing relief from less successful images in the collection.