Sometimes, a photographer doesn’t need much to bring out the beauty of their subjects. London-based Sarah Piantadosi’s Bone series exemplifies how minimal yet deeply curated scenery, lighting and framing can create something powerful. “The idea for Bone first came to me when I was at a techno fetish-sex party in London in 2019,” Sarah tells us. “I saw all these women of different shapes and sizes looking really fucking amazing in their bondage gear.” Bone is just that, a celebration of (mostly female) bodies of different shapes and sizes that are framed in an elevated, artistic aesthetic. It emphasises the simplicity of beauty without stressing skinny or slender as the be-all and end-all. “The project didn't begin to take shape until about 2020 when I felt a huge shift in public discourse around diversity, gender and body politics,” Sarah adds. “This generational shift compelled me to make this work happen.”
While the people in the series are naked, Sarah wanted to avoid portraying them simply as a body. “I wanted the pictures to be portrait-based but not overly sentimental, focusing most on the person but sometimes on the persona,” she explains. Interestingly, Sarah had some initial concerns over the nudity in the project as she'd previously worked primarily with well-considered styling and wholly realised outfits in her shoots. “As I made the pictures over the course of a year and a half it gave me time to experiment with both the aesthetic and the subject-photographer dynamic,” she says. “I think that is so imperative in a body of work so intimate.” This experimentation allowed Sarah to broach warm colours, a palette she had usually shied away from. “I felt very drawn to reds and yellows, bodily colours that feel sanguine and sallow,” she explains. “And then of course black and white as well, which is a trademark of my work.”
The images Sarah took in Paris of Theodore, one of her models, are particularly “very moving for [her]”. She says, “He arrived with a deep scar on his face, running from the corner of his mouth an inch or two into his cheek. I asked him what happened but he didn't want to speak about it. I was struck by his shyness, but also his willingness to be vulnerable in front of my camera.” This admiration for her models is what fuels the entire project, as Bone gives space and elevation to those who allowed Sarah to capture them at their most vulnerable. “I think everyone has different reasons for agreeing to pose nude,” Sarah says. “You'd think only exhibitionists would want to be part of a project like this but it's not true, a lot of people had insecurities but also a desire to experiment with the process and see what might happen when they try.”
GallerySarah Piantadosi: Bone (Copyright © Sarah Piantadosi 2023)
Sarah Piantadosi: Bone (Copyright © Sarah Piantadosi 2023)
About the Author
Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. They were part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.