Stay in touch with all Self-control magazine's hottest updates. Don't worry, we hate spam too!
But what is unique to Nora’s particular method of observing is that it’s actually not a method at all. We met that morning, neither of us having imposed a concept on the images that we were to capture together. There was no wardrobe, no makeup. No team of competing portfolio-builders, nor Pinterest mood board of editorial gleanings to lay over the camera’s lens like so many sheets of fingerprint-smudged projection film. Having alternately acted as stylist and model in a handful of meticulously staged shoots during my time in the Bay Area, I was at once disoriented and liberated by this insouciant dispensation with premeditation.
What results is refreshingly unencumbered by the despotism of aesthetics. The women Nora shoots aren’t treated as objects to be plied into consistency with her artistic vision, but as empowered subjects whom her photographs aim to capture. Though this isn’t to characterize her work as that of a dispassionate documentarian.
Her pictures are soft, dream-like even, focused through the eye of a beguiled voyeur. And as I found on that day perched over the sparkling rivulets of Lake Anza, cradled within the berth of so many heavy-limbed trees, that ethereality speaks less to the work of the camera than to the woman behind it.
Nora cultivates a space for her subject to be free. I felt it as I shed my clothes and dirtied my feet balancing on logs and tangling with bare branches, all in the opalescent haze of a sun-dappled California afternoon. It was as if there wasn’t a camera at all, or at least not the scrutiny that so often seems magnified by its lens. At one point a teenage boy and his mother approached the clearing through which we had forgotten was allowed the free passage of other park visitors. They quickly scuttled by, quickening their pace and turning their heads away from the half-naked girl in the tree. Nora later told me that his neck turned red. I didn’t even notice.
Photography: Nora Lowinsky / @noralowinsky
Writer and Model: Katie Petersen / @kbugged