Peter Rodger

Bill wrote this:

O! She doth teach the torches to burn bright.
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich Jewel in an Ethiop’s ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear.

(Romeo and Juliet act 1, sc. 4, 1. 53)

My sentiments exactly. This exhibition is a collaboration between Soumaya, the beholder of the cheeks, and myself. When we were shooting at the Taj Mahal, I for one and she for two, didn’t have any qualms about paying homage to Mumtaz Mahal, the “Lady of the Taj” for which the Emporer Shah Jahan built his famous pile…for love. Bill aptly expresses the point.

It was at the Cannes film festival 1999, that Soumaya said if you buy me some shoes, I won’t wear any panties. Deal, I said. “Cheeky Crosswalk” was the result and the birth of the series of images you see here today.

There is no real statement about these photographs except a celebration of the beauty of the human form – one human form – in lots of different places all over the world, in public and in private. It is a study of shapes, a figure in composition, of light and evocative themes that inspire. And that’s it.

None of these photographs have been digitally composed. That is the golden rule of the Cheeky. She really IS THERE – naked. Most of the shoots only yielded one frame – or two frames at the most – a few split seconds of nudity amid hours of routine and normality. For obvious reasons we had to be quick, but it’s amazing how many people didn’t notice (although we were almost arrested a couple of times.) Constraints give birth to spontaneity that would not be there had Soumaya been clothed. So therefore I share this work with my beautiful muse – who after all, was the one who had to disrobe in rain and snow and still pull off a pose.