The photographer dares to revive the tradition of the body beautiful
After decades of fine-art photography that celebrates the extremes of humankind—think of Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Diane Arbus—Los Angeles-based artist Mona Kuhn turns her lens on the nude as a source of sensuality, innocence, and joy.
“The way Kuhn composes her images creates a sense of continuity and fluidity between the viewer and the image,” one critic noted. “It’s almost as if the classic sculptures of antiquity—Pygmalion’s Galatea, if you will—suddenly imbued with life turned to look at us, as we looked at them through the millenia. It’s their turn.”
Born in Brazil to German parents, Kuhn first picked up a camera at the age of twelve as a way to keep hold of her far-flung loved ones. She has seldom put it down since. Kuhn talks to us about finding inspiration as a research fellow with the Getty, discovering the “natural nude” in the south of France, curating an ambitious art-billboard project for L.A., and juggling travel and family life. For aspiring photographers, she also offers some tips on finding community and making a name.