Lia Steele is a photographic artist based in Melbourne, Australia. She received her Bachelor of Arts (Photography) degree from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 2009 and in 2011 earned a...
“One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever.” – Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden.
Eden consists of a series of portraits taken throughout Australia. The series originates from an obsessive curiosity into the transitory stage of youth and a human relationship with nature.
In each headshot the subject, (a young person on the cusp of adulthood), is placed unclothed in a naturalistic setting and stares blankly at the camera. With no evidence of the subjects’ context (apart from tattoos or piercings) the images focus on the sincere and almost romantic beauty of the youth. The subjects’ gaze, although neutral, can be viewed as a response to the tension between photographer and subject and also the experience of vulnerability caused by being unclothed.
By referencing the biblical Garden of Eden, and by placing young people in edenic backgrounds, I am depicting youth as a time of purity and innocence, an unspoiled paradise. The images are taken with a protective tenderness and present themselves as an almost personal insight into the subject, however the composition of the photographs and the subjects’ lack of expression, leave the viewer to observe curiously from the outside looking in, and to lament upon the sanctity of human life.