The Box is a long-running series of photos of young women (mostly nude) posing inside a box without a lid, 1 metre square and 50 cm deep. Two holes are placed in three of the four sides to function as hand- and footholds. The box is placed on its end.
The size of the box presents a challenge, since the ‘rules’ generally require the models to stay within its confines. Tall women pose differently from short women; dancers pose differently from athletes. Most people are incredibly inventive and have to be told to take an occasional break; a very small minority don’t have a clue. Naturally enough, they don't figure in the series.
While the series clearly demonstrates the flexibility, creativity and daring of these young women, it also functions as a pictorial typology of basic actions such as balancing, crouching, bending, hanging, jumping, kneeling, leaning, lying, sitting, squatting, standing, stretching, twisting, etc.
Eric Kellerman is a Briton who has lived near Nijmegen in the Netherlands for just over half his life. In 2008, he retired from academic life to spend even more time on photography.
Eric works almost entirely in the studio and uses digital equipment from camera to print, although image manipulation is limited to darkroom-like processes. Specialising in the nude, he has a regular team of female collaborators, most of whom have a serious interest in movement (dance, drama therapy, athletics, martial arts). Sometimes, when there is no model available, he photographs vegetables and fruit out of desperation. He is doing more fashiony things these days too.
Kellerman used to consider his work to be distant, abstract, melancholic, ‘unerotic’, despite its subject matter. Now he's not so sure. He emphasises line, geometrical form, texture, implicit movement, and above all, chiaroscuro. He likes to create ambiguity in his photos, so that the viewer is sometimes unsure what part of the body is being looked at. In this way, he attempts to free the female body of its conventional associations.
He has been influenced by surrealism (Dali, Magritte, Delvaux’ nudes and railway stations) and the Canadian ‘magic realist’ painter Alex Colville, whose occluded bodies in essentially intimate scenes can create a surprising sense of alienation. This partial view, the ‘privileged peep’, fits in with Kellerman’s particular aesthetic very well.