I’ll just put this out there: I cannot stop reading Bill Hayward's Chasing Dragons: An Uncommon Memoir in Photographs! It is my "Archaic Torso of Apollo." If I’m not looking at it, it’s looking at me. There is no hiding. When I close the book, it glows from within. Seriously. And I’m only at Act 2, which is where Bill really starts shaking things up.
He introduces Act 2 with a few paragraphs to explain his move away from traditional portraiture and toward experimentation. Traditional portraiture is somewhat exciting and interesting, “but in the final analysis, not lastingly fulfilling.” He documents his transition from formal to abstraction or, as he puts it “I commenced 'bushwhacking' in the darkroom (this is way before digital) and experimenting with print, paint, paper and scissors and following real 'brush strokes' of accident—disrupting what I knew of visual technique and tradition.” Think draftsman turned painter; they well know what they’re rejecting and they’re impelled to take the risk.
Bill continues to observe and admire dancers both in photographs and paintings. He photographs them from every angle and while both still and in motion, nude or partially draped. The nudes in particular are gorgeous, with their long and muscular bodies. Bill captures them uninhibited in their nakedness, as if when set free from the artifice of costume, they can most fully express themselves.
The images below are from the second and eighth sub-sections of Act 2. They illustrate the artist’s progression as he turns away from tradition and toward disruption. We’re not in Kansas anymore, or Vogue.