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.