Looking at the work of Joel Peter Witkin it is obvious what themes he expresses in his photographs.
Death, corpses, disfigured and dismembered bodies and people usually classed as ‘outsiders’ dwarves, transexuals and hermaphrodites’.
A recurring theme in his work are masks.
Even though his work is very striking and different, you can see resemblances to other peoples work.
This image on the left of Witkin’s resembles this image created by Man Ray.
His work makes me think of a cross between old images of circus performers, and post mortem photography.
These images show Witkin’s version of still life.
Witkin strives to create visually striking images. Photographs that his audience will not forget. The disturbing themes grab the audiences attention.
“I wanted my photographs to be as powerful as the last thing a person sees or remembers before death” – Joel-Peter Witkin
Witkin’s work resembles the style of victorian portrait photography and images usually found of circus performers or so called ‘freaks’.
These people were often photographed in a way so they were displayed.
You can see the resemblance’s of these performers to the work of Witkin.