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Jouko Lehtola’s Finnish Youth, Dazed
"French Kiss", 1995Photography Jouko Lehtola, courtesy of AALTO

The most provocative photo stories of the month

Up close and uncomfortable with a dental cam, the zine capturing Brazil’s gay culture, Finnish youth in the 90s, and unseen shots from Nan Goldin

A fascinating insight into gender and the roles we play as men and women, or somewhere in between. Pixy Yijun Liao swapped her femininity for the series “Experimental Relationship”, where we see the photographer take on a more masculine role, while collaborator, musician Moro, got in touch with his sensitive side. A comical take on China’s stoic gender roles and power dynamics, Liao told us: “China is much more open than in the past, and it's common for women to work and have high social positions. But feudal thoughts that have been passed down from thousands of years ago still influence the way men and women are viewed in Chinese society.”

The Dazed photographer got up close and uncomfortable this month when he shared intimate shots of his experimentations with a dental camera. Exploring the often under appreciated and unseen crevices of the human body, Kaaden explained: “I was always fascinated by the body and nudity is always a part of my work. It’s about sex. If you have sex with someone you are super close, but most of the time you don’t really see what’s happening. Maybe this will let you feel the same way – by being intimate with these pictures... somehow!”

The late photographer Jouko Lehtola once said, “Anyone who has been a teenager knows it ain’t fun. It’s not a very nice situation.” We beg to differ, because going by Lehtola’s images, our Danish neighbours do teenage angst so well. From pimple-faced girls to kissing couples, the photographer’s book Finnish Youth is a prime example of how intoxicating adolescence can be.

New York in the 80s – who didn’t want to be there. One person in particular, Swiss photographer and film director Edo Bertoglio, didn’t miss a beat. Capturing the madness on his Polaroid camera, Bertoglio shot everyone from wife Maripol to Madonna, Debbie Harry and Grace Jones. A must-see series for those in need of a heavy dose of hedonism.

Juno Calypso checked into a Pennsylvanian love hotel for her honeymoon... completely solo. In an attempt to explore female sexuality and identity, the shots feature Calypso amongst the candy coloured surroundings of the resort. Reprising her role as ‘Joyce’, the defeated Stepford Wife she first debuted at her 2012 graduate show for the London College of Communication. She told us, “It was more monogamous romance than swinging free love, so the experience was quite awkward. I had to take a three-hour coach from New York to the resort and when I was dropped off at the pick up point by this small-town diner the waitress looked me up and down and said, ‘…just one?’”

For 10 years artist Rita Lino kept a visual diary of herself – setting up compromising shots with her camera, usually nude or at least semi, but always in an attempt to explore sexuality and her own body. “Taking photos of myself is a relationship. The camera knows me better than I know myself. It knows how to look at me and it shows glimpses of what I could never see reflected in a mirror,” Lino said about her love-it-or-leave-it work, now published in the book Entartete.

Henrik Malmström’s photos of the forgotten pubs of Hamburg, as published in his book Life is One Live it Well, offer a peepshow of the goings-on within the bar’s wood paneled walls. Located in the city’s smaller red light district, the images show patrons either drinking merrily or passed out from a few too many. Reflecting on his time in der Kleine-Kiez, St. Georg, Malmström told us: “One of the first things I noticed was the mixture of the people in the streets: immigrants, prostitutes, alcoholics. You would hear fighting and shouting at night and in the morning – it was open around the clock.”

Snaps Fanzine are bringing Brazil’s queer conversation to the forefront in their publication celebrating the male form in all its beauty. Nude men recline on beds, frolic amongst the woods and bathe in sunlight in Gianfranco Briceño’s photographs. The visionary told us, “I shoot young gay men, who, one way or another, are linked with the gay scene in Brazil. It's a more open and free generation, or ones who are fighting really hard to the rights of being open and free. They want to get off the ghetto, of being labeled as minority, they want to express themselves. I see Snaps as a piece of that movement, that fight.”

Swedish photographer Märta Thisner’s friends are the kind of girls that you wish were at your party. Shot over 12 years, and still ongoing, Thisner’s fun-loving, free-spirited and incredibly beautiful all girl gang are captured through a haze of booze, dancing and smudged lipstick for her series “Drunk in Love”.

The early days of the visionary talent of Nan Goldin are laid bare in these rarely seen snaps. Dug out by Goldin herself last year, the images showcase the Boston queer club scene in the 70s. Paving the way to her highly acclaimed book The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, these images trace her foray into the New York art scene.

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