Gratuitous Sex and Violence – My Favourites by Alva Bernadine.
I am a British photographer and I have worked mainly in the editorial field for the last 26 years. I have photographed for numerous magazines such as Vogue, GQ, Elle, Sunday Times etc. I have had many profiles of my work such as France, Spain, Italy, USA, Australia, Germany and of course, Britain. I won the Vogue/Sotheby's Cecil Beaton Award in 1987 for my series of shoe pictures entitled, The Fetish (self-portraits) and I won Photographer of the Year here in Britain, for my first book, Bernadinism: How to Dominate men and Subjugate Women, Edition Stemmle, 2001, which was very successful.
My latest one is entitled, Gratuitous Sex and Violence – My Favourites. I came close to being arrested when I was nearly caught standing over my model with an axe for the cover shot. Danger and a sense of unease have long been apart of my work. A woman is chased through a dark wood or is mugged on a Thames footpath or becomes the victim of a serial killer. We see sex and violence all about us in the media, sometimes together or separately. Pondering upon its ubiquity in the media and the hold it has in our imaginations, I decided to include it as part of my new project. I have made some of the pictures more filmic and suggestive of narrative.
My work is unconventional, sometimes surreal and is very singular in style. It ranges from a classic use of perspective to experimental work using a sound-activated switch to capture action pictures of women’s arses being spanked. There is always an ‘event’ in my pictures, there is always a strange , surreal or quirky happening. My pictures always begin with an unconventional idea. The colours are saturated and they are always taken on location as I rarely use studios.
Alva Bernadine was born in Grenada (West Indies) in 1961.