Audaces Fortuna Juvat


  • From a limited edition of 5 archival photographs
  • Signed and numbered by artist A. K. Nicholas
  • Image: 30×20 inches/76×51 cm
  • Paper: 32×22 inches/81×56 cm


Art-ID: JS1_8664 Category: Collections: , , ,

This is an allegorical piece about aspirations. Balloons lift her up, a thick rope secures her, and an elephant threatens to weigh her down. The elephant is small, a toy, incapable of thwarting her aspirations. What might have been a five-ton elephant is a wooden puppet. Our obstacles are often smaller in reality than what we imagine them to be. The surreal pin-up art image borrows from both genres.

The title, roughly translated, is “Fortune favors the bold.” Fortuna, being the ancient Roman goddess of luck and personal fortune, who could bring good luck or bad. In this moment, the rope trails the ground. She has yet to soar. Her thoughts seem inward, summoning courage, confronting apprehension. The way I see it, if she looks back, the elephant becomes huge, gray, and real. If she chooses to look at the balloons, they become enormous, multicolored, and lift her.

This surreal pin-up art has a dreamlike quality, the premise of her suspension defying logic and physics. The disparity of scale between her and the toy elephant further the fairy tale motif. Surrealism belongs to the postmodernism school of photography, a rebellion against the ideas and values of modernism. For a photograph, this includes a departure from documentary goals. In this way, this photograph challenges the idea that the camera never lies. It makes the argument that what we perceive is often not reality.

The articulated elephant puppet is a family souvenir and connects me to my past, living and traveling in Indonesia and other cultures. The backdrop is lightly textured to give a sense of depth and a hint of rosy glow.

More art photography: