The photography of Erin Frost is too sexy for your hotel

By Geoff Carter for, June 4, 2008

Erin Frost is making the best movie you'll never see in theaters. Her self-portraits occupy a realm between the worlds created by Bunny Yeager, Cindy Sherman and Diane Arbus.

At once, Frost's black-and-white photos are erotic, desolated, witty, glamorous and phantasmagoric; they seem to change their mood every time you look at them. You can almost see movement in her photos -- almost detect something wonderful or terrifying in the offing. The movie is stopped, but the story continues.

Frost's latest show, "Captive Creatures," opens at Some Space Gallery on Thursday, June 5 and continues through June 28. Earlier this week, I asked the photographer what her wild kingdom looks like from behind the camera.

Your photos are very cinematic. Do you create backstories before you shoot?

I mostly just let them unfold; theyʼre not too planned out. At times they are inspired by stored mental film stills, and at times from the ingredients of the ads and layouts of vintage magazines. Even the whiskey ads are triggers, like some sort of decadent playground.

What sets "Captive Creatures" apart from your past shows?

"Captive Creatures" is more a continuation than a departure. However, it does strive for a beauty that insinuates something uncomfortable and even dangerous at times. The realization that transformation occurs within -- and because of -- the restrictions involved, captive in mortality, consciousness and body. It stems from ideas of power, restraint and possession.

How has your photography transformed over the past few years?

The past few years Iʼve continued to explore the thread of reconstruction through self-portraits. If anything, whatʼs changed is my comfort level with what Iʼm doing -- realizing that to create an exposed environment that is both vulnerable and powerful, sensations of desire, memory and longing are best described in art with a selfish distortion.

Art is selfish in its fulfillment. I just do what Iʼm told. Clarity surrenders to sensation; mirrors distort; beauty is flawed, dark and unpredictable; and reality is heightened.

What are the pros and cons of acting as your own model?

Erasing the distinction between artist and model allows for an authenticity, an intimacy that couldnʼt be captured otherwise. The disadvantage of not seeing what Iʼm shooting is really the advantage, giving up control to find something unexpected and intimate. The process of photography has changed entirely, becoming an experiment in intuition.

What's the most memorable response your work has received?

Being heisted from the Max Hotel in Seattle, torn right off the wall. Thatʼs dedication.

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