witkin_Cupid_and_centaur.jpg
Joel Peter Witkin is obviously a gifted visionary in depicting the sadistically morbid and abstract. This photo, titled Cupid and Centaur, depicts an angel-like skeleton riding a hybrid bird/human skeleton. The backdrop and drapery, as well as the pulley system in the upper right hand corner gives the illusion that this is an actual model on display in a museum or art gallery. This is no doubt that this is a Joel Peter Witkin piece, due to the imagery of human deformation and death, along with his signature black/white shot with high key on the subject of the photo. I think this photo may be a representation of how mosterous the human race may be. I also think that the skeleton of an angel or "cupid" may represent life/love vs. death following close behind us all, whether we are aware of it or not. What really caught my eye was how realistic these skeletal figures look. I wonder how he found or manipulated these sculptures (man torso with bird legs and small skeleton with angel's wings). I also find it intriguing that this is a photo, yet there seems to be ink pen etchings in the background and corners of this piece. Though not as morbid and grotesque as some of Witkin's other works, this one still makes one question the origin and methods used to obtain such a uniquely abstract work of art.