Pure and Dirty
Pure And Dirty, self published by Claire Reynolds and Chrissie Hall, Dec, 2011. 174 Pages, Eight chapters, full colour.
Pure and Dirty is the story of two female photographers, Claire Reynolds and Chrissy Hall.
"On a mission to photograph what is pure and what is dirty, we were looking for a space without boundaries, where nothing was off limits, where we could rampantly discover ways of connecting with nature. We took road trips, we took the city to the bush, we were naked, we made pictures- we made art". Reynolds and Hall, 2011.
Claire Reynolds is a photographic artist who has collaborated on a new book called Pure and Dirty. It contains lots of images of nudity, but it’s also the story of a road trip taken by two friends. Richard Aedy, Life Matters.
Five years ago, Australian Photographers Claire Reynolds and Chrissie Hall became friends over a mutual love of taking pictures and being in the nude. They recently put out their first book together, Pure And Dirty, which is an intertwining of both those things. The book documents a road trip into the outback with eight different cameras and not very many clothes. Describing it as “a wild journey into sexuality and the Australian bush,” the pair have drawn praise from people like Tracy Moffatt and Terry Richardson. We asked them if they’d sit for an phone interview and they graciously accepted. Naked.
VICE: So you guys are nude at the moment, right?
Chrissie: Yes we definitely are sitting here right now in the nude talking to you and we can send you a picture to verify.
That’s a first for us. At least we think it is. Do you want to talk about the nude thing for a bit?
Claire: With Chrissie and I, it’s a completely platonic relationship but we just feel more comfortable hanging out naked and taking photographs. I guess we’re each other’s muse. When we heard we’d be doing an interview with VICE, we thought hey, let’s take our clothes off and do it like we did in the book.
Would you still shoot in the nude if you both weren’t babes?
Chrissie: Why not? Being naked is so much fun, you just have to be confident
Claire: That’s what Pure And Dirty is all about- getting raw and real in life.
Will you still shoot in the nude when you’re wrinkly old ladies?
Chrissie: In 2050, we can guarantee we will be displaying the forces of gravity on the female body for the public, whether they like it or not.
Claire: The pictures may not be as public though, and maybe not as pretty, but beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. We had a naked auction to raise money for the book and had around 15 people nude standing as our easels. The oldest was 74 and he absolutely rocked it. There were around 300 people there.
What are some downsides to being naked in the bush?
Claire: Sometimes it’s a little tricky getting naked in the bush. There’s always bugs and insects and it’s a worry if they crawl up somewhere you wouldn’t want them to. I was lying in the grass naked being photographed by Chrissie and was stung by a nasty insect in a really uncomfortable place. That hurt!
Ouch! Over the course of the book, the shots kind of escalate, in terms of being risqué or whatever. It starts out pretty innocent, but by day six there are some weird shots involving a banana. What do you think would have happened on Day 20?
Claire: Wowsers, Day 20… I can only imagine that the bananas may have been substituted and Chrissie and I would be exhausted from all that running around and nudity.
How about you Chrissie?
Chrissie: Alien abduction. Followed by the universe’s first inter-planetary photo shoot, with little green Martians getting all Pure and Dirty. As far risqué/ escalating/whatever, those Martians have been known to turn cattle inside out….so….
What's it like driving naked, and is it legal?
Chrissie: I’m not sure if it’s legal or not. It’s a bit of a thrill and the truckies seem to like it.
Isn't it weird how people have different words for vagina? Like, Americans say "pussy", which is kind of gross. And “snatch.” As humans who are comfortable with their bodies, what word do you use for vaginas, penises etc?
Chrissie: This is the best question I’ve ever had to answer for an interview. “Fun bits” is my general reference term for all the hard and soft, in and out parts of the body. Vagina is usually “Mut” (named after my friend, she knows who she is hahahaha). “Pussoir” (for when I’m feeling French or eating a baguette), “Beef Curtains” (when it’s naughty) but “Bush” is making a comeback due to the book. Penis is “dick” or “one-eyed trouser snake.” We know it’s all juvenile, but you don’t make a book like ours without finding humour in the bits we’ve all got.
How about you, Claire? What do you call man and lady bits?
Claire: Cats and chooks are such great animals, growing up on a farm we had both and it was my job to feed them. I don’t know how they managed to link themselves to our precious bodily organs. My word for vagina is either “vag” or “verjuts.” I call Penises “love muscle.”
Great. You mentioned a picture before...
Pure and Dirty by Claire Reynolds and Chrissie Hall, rrp: $65. Available at selected book stores and online at www.pureanddirty.com
Pure and Dirty is a unique body of work that captures our [Claire Reynolds and Chrissie Hall] wild journey into sexuality and the Australian bush. On a mission to photograph what is pure and what is dirty, we were looking for a space without boundaries, where nothing was off-limits,where we could rampantly discover ways of reconnecting with nature. We took road trips, we took the city to the bush, we were naked, we made pictures- we made art.
Using the Australian bush as our playground, the images work as a conversation –often consciously framed by shared moments – on the road, in the car park and in the bush. Other images are spontaneous and the motion is free. The images function in that zone of comfortable silence where the nakedness is truthful and there is never a sense that 'dirty' is bad.
Through the use of analogue and digital photographic techniques, Pure and Dirty is the intimate exchange within our friendship that allowed for the sharing of the deepest and most personal of emotions. Shedding the layers of clothing is synonymous with stripping off the complex layers of our “other lives”. We have removed Pure and Dirty from the traditional operations of stereotypical male morality and notions of opposition such as good vs. bad, innocent vs. guilty, pure vs. dirty.
Through our journey, rather than Pure and Dirty being either or, it became the definitive ideal. Our intention is that through PURE AND DIRTY, our audience will taste and feel the journey, and will be challenged by the same ideas and questions that we have put forward- sexuality, friendship, Australian culture and freedom.
Creatively guided by Australian artist Tracey Moffatt, Pure and Dirty is set to redefine sexuality in Australian photographic art.