1967, Zaandam, The Netherlands
Carla van de Puttelaars fine art photographs of the female nude are depictions of gentle erotism and sensuality that is unmistakably female in approach. She references the mythe of Galatea to explain their appearance. The story tells of the sculptor Pygmalion who carefully crafts his ideal woman from ivory and then falls in love with her. In this ultimate male fantasy the goddess Aphrodite grants his wish to make her a real woman.
Female flesh in van de Puttelaars work seems always to be arrested in the pivotal stage of metamorphosis between ivory and blood and tissue. Van de Puttelaars ‘Galateas’, her alabaster-skinned-beauties, however retain their realness through little hints of individuality, such as skinmarks, bruises and the imprint of underwear in the skin, which she believes add to their beauty and fragility, whilst also serving to draw the viewer in.
She photographs the nudes in an oblique way, teasing us with half-turned bodies, covering hands, closed eyes and details that are delicately sexy rather than overt. This approach also serves to emphasis the unattainable nature of the women – even when photographing faces their gaze is very rarely direct.
This dynamic between distance and intimacy creates the essential tension in her photographs.