A spotlight on Jimmy de Sana, one of a generation of artist-photographers including Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin who came of age in 1970s New York. A revolutionary oeuvre, exemplary for reconstituting queer modes of vision and critique.
De Sana’s approach in the world of photography is described as not only expressive but surrealistic and almost avant-garde. His roots stem from Atlanta, Georgia and after his studies there, he would move to New York (1972) and begin to build his name in just a few short years. The direction of his visions portrays a somberness or sin among all the elated colors selected while the poses of his subjects were naturally unnatural. They provoke sensations that can be physically felt. But during his time as an artist had its obstacles due to the time period of being a gay man in the era of AIDS, that he unfortunately died from in 1990.
One of his most favoured pieces is Instant Camera (1980). The initial sight of the photo itself is one that already strikes an emotion conveying many questions; there is a nude woman standing on a couch with a camera to her face taking a photo of another in a stilted pose while the camera she is holding seems to be focusing on the others face, of whom you can also not see. The enigma of it all is who is the person on the couch? Are they man or woman? Is their pose sexually driven or spontaneously chosen? What is the expression they hold from the angle the model takes the photo?
His works generates so much interest and it communicates mystery and curiosity, an originality in lurid colors and dramatic lighting with a particular view of the human body as just another camera prop.
Jimmy de Sana
Words: Maylyn Bertorelli / @twiggymay