Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Jo Ann Callis – Other Rooms

Mar 04, 2017 - Erik Franssen

When I got to know Jo Ann Callis’s photographs I instantly felt a certain kinship. What struck me in her work, when I encountered it in her book Other Rooms by Aperture, is her color and tactile sensitivity and her use of the (anonymous) human figure. Her images are never explicit and that’s what I like about them. In my perception, Callis accentuates our human vulnerability by bone like colored skin that is in contact with intimate fabrics and somewhat threatening substances or objects. The way she positions her models supports this for me. If the images are about sex, suggested by elements associated with fetishism, then Callis portrays it as a complex emotional sensation as well as a physical one and I find that very compelling and in a strange way comforting. One of my favorite images is Hand in Honey. The tactile sensation of this image is so strong! You can almost feel the uncomfortable wetness of the yellow liquid touching her hand, its almost a shame that I know its honey. And this white hand and dark and dirty nails, very alluring. Not to mention the perfection of the slopes in the fabric. Although most of the work in Other Rooms was made in the seventies it still feels so very fresh and modern to me. I’m looking forward to seeing her work in the flesh one day!


Jo Ann Callis