Lovely As


  • From a limited edition of 5 archival photographs
  • Signed and numbered by artist A K Nicholas
  • Image: 27×18 inches/69×46 cm
  • Paper: 29×20 inches/74×51 cm



This image takes its title from a line in the poem, Trees, by Joyce Kilmer. There is nothing I can do with my camera and computer that will create anything as inspiring as real life. I can only share splinters of my thoughts and hope they relate to your experiences in ways that inspire you. Black and white nude photography is a favorite way to convey these glimpses into my imagined reality.

The body echoes the shapes and tones of the tree, almost camouflaging her. An uprooted tree at the waterline foreshadows the destiny of the one in the foreground and prompts the viewer to ponder the path of the woman climbing it. We have the advantage to keep moving through our lives and avoid the fate of trees who stand on an eroding coastline.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

—From “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer

The beaches of the Carolinas are sporadically sprinkled with old forests that have succumbed to the ever-changing coastline. Through erosion, the boundary of the salt water shifts, and trees eventually die and fall over. The unearthed roots and crumbling bark expose an array of textures I find befitting black and white nude photography.

The gnarled and twisted tentacles of wood grain create patterns inside patterns. The sweeping organic curves harmonize with the contours of the body while their deathly grotesqueness contrasts with the models’ vibrant beauty.

The allure of the coast played an immense role in the development of my visual style. When I was a boy, we lived in a house on a beach of the Persian Gulf. I remember the watercolors and oil paintings my mother would make of coastal scenery. I’ve photographed models on the beaches and in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as their tributary waterways.

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