Portfolio: Christy Lee Rogers


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The Independent Culture

Christy Lee Rogers grew up surrounded by the Pacific Ocean in Kailua, Hawaii, and the water that played a dominant role in her childhood has, naturally, formed the basis of her art. "I'm now based in LA, but whenever I'd go back to Hawaii, I'd jump in the ocean and float around," the photographer explains. "I found it very freeing, and decided to start using it as a medium."

For her most recent project, "Reckless Unbound", she says, " I wanted to create chaotic water scenes, with lots of bodies wrapping around one another. It was only after this series came out that people started telling me they looked like paintings – Caravaggio, Titian, Rubens."

The effect is created as a by-product of shooting in an aquatic environment, the refraction of the light through the water resulting in a higher optical density and the blurred, blended, dreamlike illusions and intensified colours seen here.

The ethereal payoff is indeed redolent of a mix of Masters – the vivid hues of Titian, the straining bodies of Rubens, the sun-dappling chiaroscuro of Caravaggio, but also the loose brushstrokes and fluid movement of Delacroix; hints, too, of the Tiepolo-esque heavenly ascents adorning many an 18th-century Venetian chapel.

Yet, for all these highfalutin qualities, Rogers' subjects were no gods, kings or mythical beasts, but rather her friends, whom she coaxed to writhe around in a local swimming pool – a simplicity that reflects both her method (the pictures are entirely undoctored) and the purity of Rogers' lifelong love of the water.

'Reckless Unbound' is at Galerie Joseph, 7 Rue Froissart, Paris, from Thursday to 13 January. For more: christyrogers.com