EYE CANDY

Exploring the Intimacy of Sex, Through the Literal Lens of a Vagina

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Danielle Lessnau

While it’s still nowhere near enjoying the centuries-long reign of the male gaze, the concept of the female gaze has increasingly been asserting itself over the last few decades, from women artists unabashedly portraying how they really see men to A-listers like Nicole Kidman getting paid to objectify Colin Firth in Sofia Coppola’s 2017 film The Beguiled. Over the course of that same year, the photographer Danielle Lessnau was at work developing perhaps the most literal—at least from a cisgender perspective—representation of the female gaze imaginable: by placing a miniature pinhole camera inside of her vagina and devoting a solid minute to two and half minutes of her sexual encounters to document her consenting male partners at their (and her) most vulnerable. Altogether, the resulting ghostly gelatin prints make up a series Lessnau called extimité in a nod to the word that Jacques Lacan coined to address the space of confusion between the inside and the outside—a concept Lessnau importantly used a pinhole camera to attempt to capture, as its required lengthy exposure time often causes things to blur, here quite literally capturing the chaos involved in disrupting the gaze. Take a look inside the series—or out, depending how you look at it—here.

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Danielle Lessnau, untitled, 2017, from the series of gelatin prints titled extimité, a word coined by Jacques Lacan addressing the space of confusion that exists between the inside and the outside.

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Danielle Lessnau, untitled, 2017, from the series of gelatin prints titled extimité, a word coined by Jacques Lacan addressing the space of confusion that exists between the inside and the outside.

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Danielle Lessnau, untitled, 2017, from the series of gelatin prints titled extimité, a word coined by Jacques Lacan addressing the space of confusion that exists between the inside and the outside.

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Danielle Lessnau, untitled, 2017, from the series of gelatin prints titled extimité, a word coined by Jacques Lacan addressing the space of confusion that exists between the inside and the outside.

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Danielle Lessnau, untitled, 2017, from the series of gelatin prints titled extimité, a word coined by Jacques Lacan addressing the space of confusion that exists between the inside and the outside.

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Danielle Lessnau, untitled, 2017, from the series of gelatin prints titled extimité, a word coined by Jacques Lacan addressing the space of confusion that exists between the inside and the outside.

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Danielle Lessnau, untitled, 2017, from the series of gelatin prints titled extimité, a word coined by Jacques Lacan addressing the space of confusion that exists between the inside and the outside.

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Danielle Lessnau, untitled, 2017, from the series of gelatin prints titled extimité, a word coined by Jacques Lacan addressing the space of confusion that exists between the inside and the outside.

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Danielle Lessnau, untitled, 2017, from the series of gelatin prints titled extimité, a word coined by Jacques Lacan addressing the space of confusion that exists between the inside and the outside.

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Danielle Lessnau, untitled, 2017, from the series of gelatin prints titled extimité, a word coined by Jacques Lacan addressing the space of confusion that exists between the inside and the outside.

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Danielle Lessnau, untitled, 2017, from the series of gelatin prints titled extimité, a word coined by Jacques Lacan addressing the space of confusion that exists between the inside and the outside.

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Danielle Lessnau, untitled, 2017, from the series of gelatin prints titled extimité, a word coined by Jacques Lacan addressing the space of confusion that exists between the inside and the outside.Danielle Lessnau