It is with great excitement that I can announce the photographer Maisie Cousins will be participating in Photography on a Postcard. Maisie is a 26 year old photographer born and raised in London. At such a young age she has an impressive resume, featuring in several notable magazines such as Dazed, i-d, and the cover of Vogue Italia for their photo festival. She has also exhibited in the Tate Britain Late exploring the body in 2015 and held her first solo exhibition
Maisie’s photos zoom in on the details missed by the naked eye, using extreme close-up’s to show a great sense of detail in a wide variety of objects. This creates a sense of appreciation and fascination in the littlest things. Looking at her images I am beguiled by the texture of a pomegranate, engrossed by the crevices in the underside of a tongue, and absorbed in the gooey mulch of a kiwi. Or who’d have thought a severed prawn head could be appreciated for its beautiful soft peach colour against a bunch of mint green peonies stems?
The close-up frame used so often by Maisie also gives a sense of intimacy when showing the female body, adding a confronting honesty in her relationship to the model. This up close and personal way of seeing also refuses to ignore imperfections. Maisie subverts notions of perfect beauty and presents an image of femininity that reflects real life. In discussing her work Maisie has drawn on the importance of seeing “Our bodies are living, breathing, slimy entities…They’re not polite objects. This is unshakeable too, because it’s a reality.” She does not shy away from the gross realities of the human body but zooms in on it, highlighting an abject beauty previously unseen.
Maisie’s photographs celebrate a bunch of different forms, united under a hyper-saturated camera lens. Whilst focusing on natural forms such as flowers, fruit and the female body at times artificial objects wind up within the frame. Far from take away from the au-natural theme of her work, they merely add to the commitment to reality. The inclusion of eye-shadow, fake eyelashes and a nose-ring represent very real things for a young woman to have in her life. They also contribute to the diversity of colour and texture within each image.
Maisie uses her Instagram account to extend her audience, showing her 64k and counting followers the kind of beauty that can be found from ordinary objects. A post from last week exemplifies her ability to create an odd appeal from unlikely sources. The series of images taken from the series ‘Rubbish’ shows the sweetly swollen flesh of a raspberry surrounded by mould, covered in dew drops. However, through the lens of her camera the mould is somehow beautiful, the fluffy fungus appearing more akin to a soft cloud bursting with rain drops. This extraordinary ability to make the normally off-putting into something not only appealing, but also mesmerising sets Maisie apart from her contemporaries. She awakens all your senses, evoking startling desires to touch, smell and feel the objects within the frame.
Written by Isabel Casey
I’m a History of Art graduate from the University of Manchester, currently pursuing a career in the contemporary art world. In my free time I venture around London visiting new exhibitions to inspire my own artistic practise.