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Nino Mier Gallery
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Polly Borland at Nino Mier Gallery

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“At its best, portrait photography is psychologically revealing,” Polly Borland confesses in the press release for her new show at Nino Mier Gallery. Borland has been snapping intimate portraits for decades, with celebrities like Queen Elizabeth II and Nick Cave serving as subjects alongside her more seedy and erotic series. For “Nudies,” Borland becomes her own subject for the first time, shooting intimate self-portraits that revel in the folds and valleys of the human body. Each is a closely cropped landscape-like composition, melanges of breasts, stomach, and unidentifiable features caught in suspending motion. 

Unlike the highly fabricated imagery of the female body that serves as the unspoken ideal within fashion photography (and then perpetuated in millions of selfies across Instagram), Borland’s “Nudies” celebrate the dynamic and shifting nature of human flesh, accentuating rotund features rather than sucking them in. These, in a way, could be classified as selfies—the artist shot them all on an iPhone. With such simple means, the works highlight Borland’s honed and polished eye for composition and human form all while pushing the boundaries of figuration in photography. These works are a celebratory and body-positive vision of the female nude.

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Photo: Polly Borland, “Nudie (10),” 2021. Photo courtesy of the artist and Mier Gallery.

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