Joel-Peter Witkin is a photographer whose work deals with outsider subjects not widely covered by other photographers.
His photography career began without any official study; he worked as a war photographer during the Vietnam War, and after it, he continued his career as a freelance photographer, becoming the official photographer of City Walls Inc.
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Witkin’s work often centers on death and corpses as themes; he has frequently featured dismembered corpses in his work. Some of his works are really shocking photos coming from some kind of dark side of your mind.
These dark themes were inspired by a childhood incident in which Witkin encountered the dismembered head of a girl after a car accident. The look of early Daguerreotypes and the works of E.J. Bellocq also inspire his art.
Witkin’s work with corpses is created primarily in Mexico, where there are fewer restrictions in the handling of dead bodies. After taking his photographs, Witkin puts them through an extensive development process. He uses a hands-on chemical development method, often bleaching his prints, toning them, or scratching the negative.
Witkin’s work extends beyond the theme of death though, with pieces using amateur models in a studio setting. His models are either beautiful or deformed, with his photographs presenting each model fully to explore themes ranging from the mundane to the erotic.
His photographs have been widely exhibited.
See more surreal photos HERE!