Intimate Portraits of the Nude, Captured by a Female Photographer

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She Is Warm
She Is WarmPhotography by Iringó Demeter

Iringó Demeter’s faceless nudes invite us to see the body as metaphor, landscape, domicile and habitat

Hailing from a tiny Transylvanian village of just 200 people, London-based photographer Iringó Demeter remembers growing up surrounded by nature and animals. “It was very lonely but that pushed me to observe and question everything around me,” Demeter tells AnOther. “I relate to being an observer: looking at things as they happen, listening to them, and wondering why they are that way. A piece of grass blowing in the wind – there is so much beauty and so much quietness about it.”

Demeter’s fascination with nature serves her well in the creation of a series of female nudes brought together in the new book She Is Warm (Libraryman). Included as number 12 of the publisher’s quarterly Seasons Series, which draws inspiration from Kim Ki-duk’s seminal film Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring, the book showcases Demeter’s original perspective on the nude, one rooted in the idea that our bodies are our first home.

Over the past four years, Demeter has amassed a collection of works crafted from what could be described as “slow” photography. “I would never carry a camera,” she says. “I look at all of these things, then maybe a day or a year later I photograph a body and think back on that experience. I work with single images. I always say that if I take away one good image, I am happy. I don’t have expectations that every it has to be good – no, that’s way too much pressure. I focus on single images and when I have it, I’m like this is great!

A self-confessed introvert, Demeter speaks softly with a lilting accent, her words as carefully considered as her approach to photography. When asked to provide a title for the book, Demeter thought about photo sitting with her mother as subject, recalling, “I remember her being so cold – and I was like that’s the title: She Is Warm. I was thinking about the people I photographed and what they mean to me – their presence, their words, and the effect they have on me.”

Demeter mentions photographing her grandmother while she was changing outfits during a sitting. “My grandmother said, ‘This is not me because my head is not in it,’” Demeter says, fascinated by the way our bodies can be both a profound part of our identity and yet totally anonymous. “I think identity is in the photographs but not in an obvious or accessible way,” she says. “If I photograph you, I would show you something you see everyday. You spend more time with your body than I ever could, so it’s tricky.” 

Without showing faces to personalise the nude, Demeter allows us to consider the body as metaphor, as landscape, as domicile, and habitat. In her photographs the perfection of existence is rendered as fact, liberated from the constraints of beauty politics.

“We don’t know anything else except being in this body but most of the time, we don’t give it the attention that it deserves,” Demeter says, acknowledging the toll that life under lockdown has taken over the past year. “I’m struggling with all the things going on in the world and I feel disconnected from my own body. I don’t see it as a home anymore. I see it as (ugh) it’s there – and it’s really messing with my mind. We need to take care of our bodies; they are worthy of all the attention we can give them.”

She Is Warm by Iringó Demeter is available now through Libraryman.