Joel Peter Witkin’s Woman Once a Bird, one of Witkin’s less shocking pictures, believe it or not. McKean uses the same techniques—the dark framing around the edges of the picture, the use of harsh physical imagery to convey ideas from myths, the ornamental constriction of his models’ bodies—to make much stranger but less horrifying images. Witkin’s work predates most computer effects; he used pieces of corpses in some of his photographs and people with birth defects—"extraordinary bodies,“ he called them—in others. There’s a glorification of the necrotic that I find disgusting in his work, and a celebration of weirdness that I find really reassuring and uplifting.

Author: samthielman

Sam Thielman is a reporter and critic based in Brooklyn, New York. His blog is, his twitter handle is @samthielman, and if you can't find him you should check The Strand.

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