Samantha West captures intimacy with her camera. The context of her photograph alludes to West’s intention and influences the viewer’s interpretation of the piece. In Underwater Part 1, West presents a face of a woman submerged underwater framed with, as well as hidden behind, frail and suspended strands of blonde hairs. The dichotomy of the two uses of hair intensifies an inherent tension found in the photograph. The subject acclimates to an unnatural environment, yet her lips pout and mouth remains slightly open implying that she remains either content or even aroused. The viewer catches West’s model the instant that she embraces water and notices how different it feels from land or gravity. Furthermore, West’s photograph reveals a repressed pleasure that is undeniable once photographed and well-hung on a gallery wall. West exposes human’s innate acceptance of weightlessness, in turn human’s enchantment by freedom.
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