Aaron McElroy’s photographs take us on a voyeuristic trip where we are exposed to the snapshots of undressed women often captured in the banality of the domestic environment (be it in the bathroom, on a vintage chair in the half dark living room or among crumpled sheets with flower pattern). McElroy is obviously intrigued by female body. He tirelessly focuses his camera on skin texture, hair and often looks for ultimately awkward body postures and unusual angels. Some images show us women in moments of their quotidian life (casually taking off their clothes or quietly peeing), pushing us into a voyeuristic position. McElroy adds a layer of mystery by never revealing the identities of his subjects as he crops out their faces or shoots from the back. We are left wondering: who are these women? What are the connections between photographer and his models? What are the emotions we are not aware of?
Faded colour palette, intentional obscurity and McElroy’s sensitivity bring poetic element to the visual narrative. Shots of women in different stages of being undressed are carefully mixed with random objects and pieces of clothes. Images of flowers (in a variety from full blossom to decay) appear throughout in McElroy’s work as a reference to the cycles of life (life-death-rebirth). They are always wittingly paired with other photographs reflecting McElroy’s esthetique. Repetition of colours, various patterns and shapes constitute the core of the series and tight everything together in a distinct visual flow.
McElroy shares with us just a glimpse of his world which never fully reveals all its secrets and intentions. Nothing is outright on display in McElroy’s images, yet they provoke some tensions and discomfort. The combination of curious interest and uncomfortable intrusion is exactly what makes these images so compelling.
By Olga Yaxtskevich