Artist of the Week: Mona Kuhn

I saw Mona Kuhn‘s work for the first time at photo l.a. in 2004 or 2005. I noticed it because it hung alongside Jock Sturges‘, who I believe was mentoring her at the time. She thanks Jock and his wife, Maia Davis, for “smoothing [her] path and patiently guiding [her] steps” in her first monograph, Photographs.

Image licensed under Creative Commons from John E Ramspott.

Image licensed under Creative Commons from John E Ramspott.

As her bio says, Mona (b. 1969) is “best known for her large-scale, dream-like photographs of nudes.” To understand what this truly means, I think you’d need to see her work in person. But take a look at an exhibition space featuring her photographs for context:


In the early days, Mona’s work was an even mix of black and white vs color and she seemed preoccupied with capturing her subjects’ hands:


Nikki’s Hands 1998 (c) Mona Kuhn


Guardian 2002 (c) Mona Kuhn


Sombra 1999 (c) Mona Kuhn

More recently, she seems to be shooting portraits almost exclusively in color and focusing on the wider landscape of each body and its environment:


Refractions 2006 (c) Mona Kuhn


Portrait #9 2011 and Lise 2008 (c) Mona Kuhn


Fatale 2006 (c) Mona Kuhn

Mona Kuhn was born in São Paulo, Brazil of German descent. She studied at Ohio State University and the San Francisco Art Institute.  She now lives in Los Angeles, where she is an independent scholar at The Getty Research Institute. To learn more about Mona and her work, visit her website.

What do you think? Do you prefer Mona’s black & white or color images? Which composition style: closer cropped or those that incorporate more of the environment?