Polly Borland was given her first camera, a Nikkor, by her father at the age of 16. In an article written by Will Self for The Independent back in 2008, she explains, "I saw the work of Diane Arbus and Weegee--and a little bit later an exhibition of Larry Clark's work. There were these photographs of kids on the edge, shooting up--dressing up. They were just tacked to the walls with drawing pins. I knew then that that was what I wanted to do."
The Australian-born photographer (a.k.a. 'snapper' in her own terms) is currently based out of London, a place she refers to now as home. She came to the UK in 1989, building up a reputation as a maker of excitingly fresh, yet disturbing images. Her work is oddly appealing to an extent that it screams ambiguity. You are never quite sure what it is or what she intends on implying, but I find it quite fascinating that the identity of the models are undisclosed. Undergoing such performance-like process, she distorts the bodies of its subjects--creating images that are both evocative and disconcerting. As disturbing as it may sound and despite highly judgmental viewers out there, her extraordinary portraits are never explicit. Yes, it is intimate, however, they evoke vulnerability and are curiously non-judgmental and honest.
Babies, Bunny and most recently Smudge (produced in 2011) are considerably her finest pieces.
Salute to her astonishing achievement!
Artist/Photographer: Polly Borland | Represented by Paul Kasmin Gallery