Polly Borland’s Unforeseen Perversity in 16 Photos

Polly Borland was born in Australia and soon enough found that continent not big enough to contain her. You may not recognize Polly Borland by name, but you may know her. See if any of these visual cues light a bulb:


Young Nick Cave wearing a navy blue t-shirt emblazoned with an extremely pushy declarative sentence? Bill Clinton girlfriend Monica Lewinsky looking as if she has just been caught in deep thought? Sexual imagery that is not in the least pornographic, often reveals no flesh whatsoever, and creates palpable erotic panic? The Queen of England in a portrait that brims with more intimacy than any member of the Royal Family can be expected to comfortably display—even to one another?

Can’t picture any of that? Oh, come on, then: Go to Polly Borland’s site and start peeking.

The Skeeve: Why does art need a touch of the prankster?

Polly Borland: Art should challenge one’s perception of everything! Great art transcends rules and boundaries and doesn’t adhere to censorship. That is my definition of prankster….

The Skeeve: In a lot of your personal work, identities are obscured. What is revealed in doing that?

Polly Borland: My figures are supposed to represent humankind not any one specific.… The figures are also supposed to represent a vulnerability, a fetal-like state and an abstraction of humanness.

The Skeeve: What is more difficult: Selecting a pair of sunglasses or adopting an existential mode?

Polly Borland: Definitely adopting an existential mode. I’m constantly trying to figure out that! Which sunglasses I wear though are just a superficial aspect of that…

The Skeeve: Why photography?

Polly Borland: I can attempt to control and order my reality….

The Skeeve: Do people seem more afraid of being exposed or of not being seen?

Polly Borland: People are terrified of both at the same time!

All photos copyright Polly Borland.

Allan MacDonell Administrator
Director of Skeeve Allan MacDonell is the author of ‘Prisoner of X’, ‘Punk Elegies’ and ‘Now That I Am Gone.’
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