3 young photographers, 8 American states, 28 days. Celestial Bodies, a new photobook by young artist-photographers Eleanor Hardwick, Rachel Hardwick and Chrissie White, travels through the American West to explore the relationship between our bodies and nature.
“In society and the media, the female body seems to be either hyper-sexualised or shamed, and rarely appreciated for the incredible feat of nature that it really is,” says Rachel. “I think that presenting the female form as somewhat other-worldly and alien, all preconceptions that many of us have linked to the idea of the nude body are stripped away. By looking at it with fresh eyes, within the context of landscapes that almost look as if they could be on another planet, we are able to take a step back and view the world from a new perspective.”
London-based sisters Eleanor and Rachel came across Chrissie, based in Seattle, on Flickr years ago, forming a firm kinship around a shared love for photography, exploration and the natural world. The series is rooted in the incredibly varied landscape of the American West, taking in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Idaho. “The landscape draws out feelings of belonging to the land. Although we come from the earth and are in fact part of the earth, so many of us still feel very uncomfortable and foreign when in the wild,” White notes.
The series simultaneously explores three planes – the extraterrestrial, the earthly and the bodily, which appeals to the photographers’ artistic interests, explains Eleanor, a regular contributor to Rookie.
“Human existence is based so much on balance and cycles to stay sustainable (both emotionally and physically), and equally, right now, the sustainability of our planets feels so dependent on us as humans. The work definitely plays with that equilibrium, and it is somewhat of a political response to the environmental and technological changes that are happening in the world right now.”
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