Cory Rice is a photographer based in Brooklyn. He moved to New York in 2009 to study the history and theory of photography. Cory has taught at Brooklyn College, the City College of New York, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. His photographs have appeared in digital/print as well as in exhibitions across the US.
How did the idea for the series come about?
Spontaneously! We had been shooting for a bit when Jojo noticed a roll of bright seamless in the corner of my studio. When we pulled it out, the paper was pretty banged up from a shoot earlier in the week. Instead of cutting and tossing the damaged paper, we decided to play with it a bit.
How do you approach these intimate shoots?
Communication and honesty are key. I’m very open about my work to avoid any potential surprises. I think once it becomes apparent that the shoot is not a farce to get a woman to undress for my camera, things relax. There is an old photography book from the 60s that I picked up in a used bookstore a couple years ago called How to Photograph Women. The book is endlessly fascinating. In a section dedicated to negotiating the model-photographer dynamic, there is a line that says something to the effect of ‘never use your camera as a means of making dates or getting a girl out into the woods.’ That’s a motto worth distributing with every camera sold. Ultimately, I think many people are very interested in their bodies. We never really see our bodies from the perspective of someone else so photography can offer something in that respect. This is especially true of ‘non-models’ whom I have photographed. Our culture has done so much damage to how we see our own and each other’s bodies—yet at our most tangible core, our bodies are us. The shoots are less about any kind of intimacy between the models I am photographing and myself than the models and themselves.
Can we photograph the female body differently in a more powerful way?
Part of the lure of shooting nudes, for me, is the challenges that it presents as a genre. This is true regardless of whomever you are taking photographs of — but especially in the case of women. It’s hard to think of a more played out and abused subject than the female nude. It has long served as a sort of ‘quick-pass’ by those seeking to be taken seriously as an artist. The most recent iteration of this is the ‘guy with camera’ stereotype. It is unfortunate, but it is nothing new. However, none of this has anything to do with the actual power and strength of the female body so much as the way it has been framed by others. So ultimately there is a lot of potential still available once you step outside of the expected. The challenge is to look in a way that has not been prescribed by others.
What inspires you?
The history of art is a well of endless inspiration for me. As are the incredible people who I have been fortunate enough to work with.
How would you define beauty?
Film or digital?
I shoot both. The images in this set are digital.
What makes you happy?
The creative process. Nothing beats it.
What’s next for you?
I have been working on a project with dominatrix, Aleta Cai, that explores the melding of spirituality and sexuality that we are in the process of wrapping up.