LOVE HOTELS AND DIRTY DISHES
Eating and copulation, two acts that pretty much assure the sustainment of the human race. How we take our meals and how we have sex however, vary greatly. From indulgence to abstinence, cultures are informed if not formed, by these two activities. Love Hotels by Misty Keasler and Dirty Dishes by Ralf Schmerberg explore the before and after of each of these acts respectively in implicit and explicit ways.
In Love Hotels, Misty Keasler’s photographs of “hotels where couples can rent heavily decorated theme rooms by the hour for amorous liaisons” suggest peculiar indulgences of the flesh, by which carnal knowledge is explored through kink and fetish. Implicitly, Keasler’s photographs of the before, beds and sexual accoutrements, suggests a lot. One wonders.
After all is said and done is where Ralf Schmerberg begins in Dirty Dishes. Whereas Keasler suggests, Schmerberg is explicit. Whereas Love Hotels leaves the reader speculating, Dirty Dishes leaves no doubt that we are in fact looking at the aftermath of indulgent meals shot in a disturbingly off-kilter and harsh fashion by Schmerberg. It is Love Hotels however, that considers the often taboo subject of fetish as something more than bizarre and rather, perhaps respectable. Keasler’s clean and orderly approach to each photograph presents a perspective other than the expected. In contrast, at the end of the meals photographed across the world by Schmerberg, the act of eating becomes less normal and more grotesque and of the two acts, perhaps the more sinful.