I feed on visual imagery, so Tumblr is a never-ending smorgasbord for me. The other night, I discovered a wildly talented photographer named Billy Kidd. He mostly does fashion work, so he shoots a lot of waifish young women, but it’s clear that Kidd is trying to do something different with familiar material.
The women he shoots — girls, really, judging by the apparent age of most of them — are not used like dolls. While their bodies may resemble Mapplethorpe-esque sculptures of form and negative space, their faces revolt. They grimace, sneer, roll their eyes and flip the bird. Some of his models let the camera in and photography becomes portraiture.
Either way, Kidd’s work gives the impression that the models are in control. He seems to snap the pictures and let the women be who they are. For fashion photography, this is refreshing.
When I appreciate artwork, I try to remember to ask myself what I can learn from it as a writer. Often, there’s no direct lesson that can be put into words but, with Kidd, I’m reminded of the importance of letting the subject of your work talk to you, even if you think your mission is to tell the world what you think.
Billy Kidd has a Kickstarter project up right now. It’s the first Kickstarter project that I’ve ever contributed to and I’m rather excited to be involved.