“I have not photographed a great many people, but I have photographed the people I do photograph a great many times,” Jock Sturges has said. One of those people is Fanny, a Frenchwoman Sturges has photographed since birth, making an extended portrait that records her transformation from child to adult. Shot in Montalivet, a naturist community north of Bordeaux, Sturges’s portraits highlight Fanny’s ease in her own skin and in front of the camera. Fanny, a book published recently by Steidl, collects these portraits, documenting Fanny as she poses throughout her childhood and adolescence, ending with her pregnancy with her first child. A selection of photographs from the book is on view until November 14 at Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in New York.
By recording a single subject over many years, Sturges reveals the shifting, evolving nature of identity and its relationship to the body. Early in his career, Sturges took a decade-long break from photographing nudes, finding the genre sometimes artificial. But he returned to it when he realized it could be a longterm pursuit. “I stumbled upon the fact that making portraits of people over a long period of time transitioned the work from being about the body to being about relationships,” Sturges has said. In Fanny, the tender, honest bond between model and artist transforms the series from a collection of beautiful pictures into something more lasting.