Emily, Bended Knee in Pink 4/10


  • From a limited edition of 10 archival photographs
  • Signed and numbered by artist A K Nicholas
  • Image: 20×15.3 inches/51×39 cm
  • Paper: 22×17.3 inches/56×44 cm


Emily stretches in a shadowless expanse, portrayed in rosy tones. This inwardly-focused pose is full of proud strength and benevolence. The colors are chosen to give a soft, homogeneous look, reminiscent of an ink drawing on colored paper, where the figure appears translucent. The lack of stark contrast between foreground and background emphasizes two-dimensionality, giving it a graphic feeling, a reference to classic pin-up girl ink drawings on paper. The warm colors blend into soft shadows that imply a quiet mood. This visual treatment suggests an aesthetic intention that is a slight departure from standard pin-up girl photography.

Her enticing voluptuousness is amplified by an impressive cascade of blonde tresses. Not lost in this pastiche are her full lips and even features. The nude woman’s soft gaze connects with the junctions of her fingers and toes. What makes this composition work for me is the circular pathway of fascinating visual elements from her face, hand, foot, knees, and the contour of her torso. Her environment is mostly negative space, connected only by shadows and slight reflections under her knees.

This photograph celebrates sensuality as an aspect of what it means to be human and within the context of visual composition. An unapologetic admiration of beauty, the image offers the viewer a brief recess from reality in its dreamlike world. The pose and choice of subject are also influenced by classic pin-up girl photography, drawing, and painting. My collaborator was fully invested in this undertaking. She plays a nuanced character, outside of the dichotomy of age-old symbolism where women are portrayed as the extremes of Eve (sinner) and the Madonna. The playful performance and on-camera charisma is a re-imagining of the pin-up girl photography genre.

My influences in pinup art include Olivia De Berardinis, Mel Ramos, and Hajime Sorayama. I was also aware of the work of Bunny Yeager and Peter Gowland during my art education, although I didn’t adopt those styles. I was further influenced by Helmut Newton and Ellen von Unwerth.

This image has been collected by art lovers in Texas, Utah, and Rhode Island.

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