the subtle confrontationist aspect of ferry van der nat’s photographic work ‘mr polaroid’ at the ravenstijn gallery is a welcome departure from the more overt sensationalist images. a tricky thing methinks, if like ferry you come from a fashion dominated milieu. regardless though, the attractive element of male vulnerability in the work is cleverly enhanced by the particular postures,light and the effect from the vintage polaroid cameras used. it brings across a sense of disguised modesty which facilitates an emotive reaction. although the immediacy and intimacy diminishes with the scale of the prints, there is enough here to warrant a closer look. the slightly out of focus and teasing images with their anonymity, combined with the more candid portraiture may seem jarring at first, but apart from connecting faces and body parts the interest in the subjects inevitably become overshadowed by a greater objectification argument. i always find this kind of identity play stimulating, more so since some of the subjects were in attendance at the opening event.
the modern definition of the male nude study has steadily developed into a classification of its own and with it has come a whole new way of evaluating its merits. apart from the obvious desirability and novelty, clearly the male nude no longer needs an excuse. van der nat’s images testifies to that. the images are strong and sensitive enough to stand on their own, to me personally the exhibition’s dichotomies brings to mind louise bourgeois’ self descriptive phrase … ‘i want to be both secretive and exhibitionist’