Mike Chaiken’s “Windows” is a photographic series that plays with unexpected textures, lighting, and colors as the viewer gazes, voyeuristically, as if peering through a window, at a nude female.
And just like a Peeping Tom, the voyeur finds the subjects of his prurient interest in all matters of repose. Some subjects are exhibitionists aware of the hidden gaze through the window. They offer up a performance and sometimes connect with the gaze of the voyeurs. Some subjects are caught in their private moments, not suspecting they are being watched. Thus, the viewer is taken inside their secret lives.
Although the voyeur peers intently, the textures and lighting frustrate his efforts. The voyeur sees something, but he is unsure of what exactly is being viewed or even who is being observed. Identities are obscured. Secret lives are kept secret. Imagination is the sole means to bring focus as to the image ahead.
The layers and the shape of the residue sometimes offer a hint as to the voyeur’s response to the image and how his libido and imagination have filled in the details. Not quite pornographic, but not exactly innocent, Chaiken’s series explores sexuality and the idea that the largest sexual organ for any human being is the brain.
The genesis of Chaiken’s project began when a model expressed the desire to pose nude but sought to hide her identity from family, friends, and colleagues. Rather than simply obscure or edit out her face, Chaiken stumbled upon a process that obscured the nudity but did not render it pointless. The coloration helped heighten the artistic approach to a simple nude.
The model was pleased with the results and other models attracted by the effort, and intrigued by nudity but in a secret manner, stepped forward to pose as well. Thus, a one off effort became an ongoing project.
About Mike Chaiken
Mike Chaiken is a photographer based in Connecticut, U.S.A. He has worked in photojournalism for three decades and fashion photography as well as art photography for about a decade and a half. His photojournalism has been featured in several newspapers in Connecticut. His fashion photography has been published in several national and international print and online magazines. His art photography has been shown in galleries across Connecticut.