TANYTH BERKELEY: “The Special Ones”

Tanyth Berkeley likes the “Special Ones”.

She likes the pale ones, the large headed types, the big bodies and the long giraffe necks. She likes the Robert Crumb shapes and the vampire faces, the glowing white skin and the men-in-dresses with womanly laces. She likes the eyes set back in the skull or the shoulders holding up those big heads that are smashed in like a pretty pumpkin in certain places. Her specialty is the awkward, the rare flower, the big cheek boned and special feminine shells and large sizes and different races. And what about those “beautiful” humans. What about the “blessed” ones that run around naked with their skinny bodies in the fields and the forest, all pretty and young, perfect skin and perfect faces. The free ones that climb naked and glistening in trees to let the gold sun reflect from their perfect skin as they celebrate their perfect shapes.

F-k them.

Where does she go to find her lovely specimens – these “Special Ones”, the Orchidaceae. One species looks just like a pony with its mane flowing out. One species looks like a glowing strawberry. One looks like a beautiful alien. One looks like a human rose. One looks like a firefly. One looks like the kind of fancy shoes that a king might wear. One looks like Mickey Mouse. One looks like a fluffy kitten. Her expeditions take her deep into the cement jungle, into the dangerous subway tunnels of New York — the hunting is calculated, looking carefully for the rare flowers and avoiding the normal, the mundane, the boring beautiful. After a successful catch, she takes them to rooftops, into open light to photograph them and categorize her findings. She likes to find the rarest of species, the ones that the loons viciously stare at and then discard with their eyes, the ones that elude the shallow folks who ignore the rare beauty in their blindness and their love for the superficial and their blind desire for the skinny. Most share a few key characteristics that distinguish them from other human flowers. Some species are pale white and easy to spot, some share both male and female parts… some are yellow, some are red, some have marks and spots and some are bare. I wasn’t surprised to learn that such remarkable creatures were also delicate and vulnerable to disturbance. They often stare vacant into space so as to avoid eye contact with the vicious others, the gawking eyes and the long stares. They try to blend in and avoid the aggression that would damage their delicate and beautiful petals.

I would expect that Tanyth will continue to hunt these beautiful specimens for the hunter is a rare breed themselves. Once you taste the beauty of the special ones, you are typically unable to stop your hunt for the fascinating form of the rare human flower.


Doug Rickard

ASX CHANNEL: Tanyth Berkeley

All images © copyright the photographer and/or publisher

TONY STAMOLIS: "Frezno" (2008)
INTERVIEW: "Nikolay Bakharev in Conversation with Luca Desienna" (2006)
AUGUST SANDER: "August Sander - A Profile of the People" (2002)
LISE SARFATI: "In the Next Door Room"
TODD HIDO: "Witness 7" (2009)
MARK STEINMETZ: The gray that blankets the living...
RICHARD AVEDON: "Jacob Israel Avedon" (1974)
DIANE ARBUS: "Notes from the Margin of Spoiled Identity - The Art of Diane Arbus" (1988)
ASX.TV: Doug Rickard - "A New American Picture" (2011)
ASX.TV: Lise Sarfati - "Conversation with Lise Sarfati" (2010)
ASX.TV: Doug Rickard - "Leafing through A New American Picture" (2011)
BILL BRANDT: "Don't Smile - You Look Stupid" (2004)
ASX.TV: Cindy Sherman - "Time-lapse Installation" (2011)
DOROTHEA LANGE: "Portraits" (1935 - 1939)
THOMAS RUFF: “Lack of Faith: On Thomas Ruff.” (1991)
INTERVIEW: "Interview of Lise Sarfati by François Adragna" (2012)
TUOL SLENG PRISON: "Execution Portraits"
ASX.TV: Rineke Dijkstra - "A Conversation with Rineke Dijkstra" (2012)
ASX.TV: Cindy Sherman - "Art 21 - 'Mannequins & Masks'" (2011)
ASX.TV: Cindy Sherman - "Cindy Sherman from Four Sides" (2012)
ASX.TV: Cindy Sherman - "Dodie Kazanjian on Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Still #48, 1979"...
NAN GOLDIN: "Among Friends" (1992)
DIANE ARBUS: "Arbus's Box of Ten Photographs" (2003)
Posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .