When an artistic photographer finds something that inspires him or her, it’s important to run with it. But one particular photographer, Charlie Engman, has been pushing boundaries for years by photographing his own mother in varying states of undress.
According to the Huffington Post, Charlie Engman has been releasing the stunning and sometimes unsettling photos of his mother, Kathleen McCain Engman, for much of his career. Most of the photos are set outdoors, in the open wilderness, with Engman’s mother showing more than a little skin. While none of the photos are outwardly explicit, there is a bit of artistic nudity.
Charlie Engman insists that the relationship between he and his mother is purely professional and based on mutual respect, and that she is definitely comfortable with everything he asks her to do.
“She’s really game. It’s really hard to make her uncomfortable. She knew in this interaction we were having there was a mutual level of respect or understanding. So even if I was asking her for things that were rather extreme or pushed some boundaries of modesty or whatever, she knew me. She knows me.”
When asked why he chose his mother to be the subject of such stark, yet sensual photography, Charlie Engman explained that much of the decision was based on the fact that she was available.
“My mother was just an available subject, so I took a lot of pictures of her,” he said. “At the time, I didn’t really think a lot about it. She was there, so I was using it.”
Perhaps the most compelling part of Charlie Engman’s photo series is his mother’s lack of traditional, model beauty. Instead of the youthful faces that are frequently seen in tasteful nude photos, Charlie Engman brings the bold and experienced expressions of his older mother. She never smiles, and she nearly always stares down the camera with a beautiful, but off-putting, brand of confidence.
Charlie Engman explained to It’s Nice That that he had a desire to depict his mother in her natural, familiar state — the way she would appear to him every day.
“… we’ve also been doing things that are very straightforward, very normal and as she presents herself day to day. Because she’s so unfamiliar in some of the other photographs I felt it was important to do something where she is very familiar and feels like the person I recognise; something that is a bit more documentary.”
What do you think of Charlie Engman’s photos? Are they beautiful or disturbing?
[Image credit: Charlie Engman]