JOHANNA STICKLAND’S WOMEN
A celebration of women in intimate settings.
Words | Jonathan Poh Translation | Ian Tsang
The female form, it seems, has been admired and documented since the beginning of time, and it continues to be a constant source of inspiration for artists working across a variety of fields. But while female portraiture has changed greatly over the years and there are plenty of examples to be found, I recently came across a beautiful collection of images by Johanna Stickland, a Canadian model-turned-photographer and artist currently based in Portugal. Stickland’s simply titled “Women,” in particular, is a series that arose from documenting the situations and people that were beautiful or interesting to her, but in an honest and intimate manner. “These photographs don’t necessarily tell a specific story, but rather appear as fragmented scenes, the way you hold a memory of someone in your mind,” Stickland explains. “Women hold a lot of inner mystery and emotions, which interests me greatly.”
Stickland’s images for “Women”, in my opinion, are especially alluring for their natural quality, both in terms of their subjects and the warm, soft lighting that often pervades them. Her eye for the female body, meanwhile, was likely honed on the other side of the lens, during the time she modelled as a teenager and first encountered the art of photography. “I think the female form is beautiful and I really enjoy shooting it,” revealed Stickland in an earlier interview. “This idea has been on my mind a lot in the last while, having posed nude quite often myself...My experience has really changed my views on nudity and art and the purpose of nudity in photographs. Even when I see images now, I can’t help but notice when the nudity has no purpose versus when it actually makes sense being part of an image. There is no such thing as ‘real women’ because all women are real.”