IN A WARM-HUED APOCALYPTIC DESERT OF TEXAS, PHOTOGRAPHER EDIE SUNDAY EXPLORES FEMALE SENSUALITY WITH A MYSTICAL, OBSCURE TAKE THAT REMINDS US OF WITCHCRAFT AND RITUALS
Based in Austin, Texas, 26-year-old photographer and psychologist Edie Sunday takes hints from Neil Krug’s “acid” imaginary and shapes it to make it suit better the themes dear to the fourth wave of feminism. She shoots analog only, and likes to experiment in many different ways, in the darkroom as well as with mixed media and Photoshop.
In her psychedelic shots, the desert of Texas turns into a no man’s land, which escapes the boundaries of space and time and stands well off the field of reality, in a dreamlike dimension made of “present absences”.
The figures captured on film, exclusively women, are, in fact, evanescent appearances, fleeting spirits, delicate essences that blend with the landscape becoming one with nature, with the lights, the colors, resulting in a kaleidoscope yet bewildering effect.
Patches of land that run boundless under the open sky, feminine shapes in silhouette against apocalyptic sunsets, stressed gestures which suggest the summoning of something sacred, human arms that blend with the branches of spooky trees, bodies that blend in with rocks, enormous moons, the constant reference to the ritual, the permanent feeling of a omen: Edie Sunday’s imagery is imbued with references to the occult. The women she portrays, almost always nude, are reminiscent of classical witchcraft iconography – just think of the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. When depicted standing alone in wastelands, they transcend their human nature and become pure spirit, while, if pictured in small groups, captured in moments with a strong ceremonial connotation, they emphasise the idea of coven and sisterhood.
According to Sunday, photography is a way to recreate uncanny visions that hang between dream and reality, between the self-conscious and the unconscious. Her work, though, also represents a kind of mission, that of unveiling women’s true essence and to redeem their role against society’s prejudices. “We are strange and powerful creatures, and society has always done a very good job of making women ashamed of their true nature”, she once stated.
These feelings result in highly evocative images, often marked by a strong use of double exposure.
The colors are odd, altered, oversaturated, often handpainted or achieved by soaking the film in chemicals, for a psychedelic and otherworldly effect. The lakes into which impalpable women float are dyed red, sunsets are like a catastrophic omen. The feeling that an impending apocalypse is always around the corner is permanent, but it’s also accompanied by a kind of contentment that makes diving into decay feel sweet.
Text by Francesca Milano