Lifeguard Lucky Number 13


  • From a limited edition of 15 archival photographs
  • Signed and numbered by artist A K Nicholas
  • Image : 20×30 inches/51×76 cm
  • Paper : 22×32 inches/56×81 cm



Art-ID: KO1_5513 Category: Collections: ,


It is first light on an empty beach and a single figure is poised, her leg suggestively raised and outstretched on a pink lifeguard tower. The wind blows wisps of her hair and traces of sand on her back confess to other recent activities. A no swimming icon and the numerals “13” are posted conspicuously in this nude photography print.

The sky is made up of rich blue and puffy white and gray clouds. Faint striations in the sky echo the diagonal lines of the railing above the figure. These unnatural lines are evidence of the artist’s hand and a clear departure from traditional photography.

The number thirteen is considered unlucky by some and lucky by others. In mathematics it is a Fibonacci number, happy number, and a prime. Its the atomic number of Aluminum. Christians, Sikhs, Jews, Wiccans, Shiites, and Aztecs all have significant days or beliefs connected in some way to the number thirteen. For example, there was a baker’s dozen at the last supper. Italians, Colgate University, and Taylor Swift alike considered 13 to be lucky. The United States began with thirteen colonies and the thirteenth amendment to the US Constitution abolished slavery.

I usually limit the presence of legible characters in a nude photography print to numerals, if any at all. I want viewers to center on visual components, not linguistic ones. That’s a reason any writing will be visually subordinate to other elements.

The dominant lines in this image are the pink panels of the lifeguard tower. The nude woman stretching against it stands out not through her size, but the contrast in color and her arresting pose. The tower intersects the top of the frame and runs off it. This somewhat jarring cropping gives us a sense of closeness to the scene. A ribbon of sand, patterned with shadows, frames the bottom of the scene.

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