Summer's here, the sun is out and so are all our wobbly bits. Photographs by Mischa Haller. Words by John Walsh
ou can see it arrayed across the metropolitan greensward of St James's and Hyde Park like a bad-taste art exhibition on an emerald carpet: both bulky, round-edged sculpture and pale, stretched canvas imprinted with tiny signs. Its many shades are all colours of food - salmon, tofu, shelled lychees, speckled eggshell, smoked Wensleydale, game biltong ...

Flesh. It spreads out before us in the park as if for inspection, a landscape of skin, dotted like some Arizona valley with crevices, bluffs and sand- blasted caves; a whole unexpected world of muscle and curve and strap- bisecting bulge, suddenly revealed to us without comment, excuse or preamble. It invites us to look at what's usually kept hidden until brought out by the summer heat - and having looked, our first impulse is to look elsewhere. The flesh that is the outward sign of our common humanity, that clothes us all in a pink-to-brown uniform, repels our senses. It's just a little too animal. Some dark linguistic tribal impulse makes skin still cognate with sin. It displays elemental forces and spells out eternal verities in a complex package: gravity, age, sexual allure, health, excess, decay. This is hard to take in all at once. Humankind cannot stand very much unadorned body.

For the photographer whose subject is non-erotic flesh, the challenge is to make it resemble something other than the pictures illustrating eczema or shingles in a doctor's surgery. Mischa Haller takes risks with featureless tarpaulins of summer-parkland skin. He catches the alarming qualities of amplitude; the mile-wide, coming-at-ya threat of a huge, halter-necked bosom. He has a virtual fetish for creases, in folded limbs and baby's bum. The hunch of freckled shoulders turns a dozing office worker into a leopard; the Brillo-pad of hair peeping from a goosefleshed male armpit which suggests the hidden wiring of homo sapiens. You think you know flesh like the back of your hand? Take a closer look.

Alan, 36, artist

Naomi, 24, student, and Gillian, 26, architect

Tim, 28, freelance director

Maria, 27, administrator

Jackie, 22, mother


Nathan, 23, unemployed

Albert, 61, retired

Jerry, 39, unemployed

Adam, 32, actor

James, two

Jo, 26, film location scout

Matthew, 27, cabbie

Graeme, 28, research scientist

Okezwe, 27, sales advisor