Patrick Jan Van Hove’s Nude Women

I sometimes think one of the reasons I am drawn to photography is because I feel it is the closest you can get to seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. Trying to see what it is that someone else perceives, what they focus on; what is interesting to them, is interesting to me. The nude photographs that Patrick Jan Van Hove takes document and illustrate his personal fascination with the female form.

Working frequently in large format, the photographs have great depth and detail which he uses to draw the viewers focus to a finger, a nipple, a foot, a knot while the rest of the body might be softly obscured. His plain torsos look almost statuesque in their simplicity. But it is the detail of the skin- the goosebumps, the fine hairs, the freckles, the scars, the wrinkles, the folds, and the puckers that prove these regal forms are human after all. And it is in that display of humanity that I think his nude photographs stand out.

The other thing that stands out in the full archive of Patrick Jan Van Hove’s photographs are his experimentations with subject matter and with process. His fascination with the female form extends to its capacity to create life. A large percentage of his work documents the bodies of women in various stages of their pregnancies. It is almost fetishistic in its repetition, these ripe and fecund bodies. An interest in the realm of fetish also shows up in the use of rope bondage as well as corsets, stockings, and ballet shoes. I was particularly drawn to his experimentation in process, where he uses multiple exposures or image transfers to further blur and obscure his subject matter. Perhaps the message in the blurring is that no matter how much we may want to, we can’t see through someone else’s eyes after all. But it’s awfully fun to try.

Article by Kayla

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