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‘Teaser’ extends fantasy photographer Mila Bridger’s legend and lore


Included in the Alliance for the Arts 34th Annual All Florida Juried Exhibition is an image by fine art photographer Mila Bridger that she’s named Teaser. It’s a composition from which a woman’s left arm and leg protrude from a blue-gray field. It’s a variation, or perhaps extrapolation, of a theme she began a couple of years ago when she introduced her Mermaid’s Dream series.

In Mermaid’s Dream, Bridger depicts horizontal-striped stockinged legs protruding from a pool onto a white deck or waterside landing. The colors of the stripes change. One is red and white; another blue and black. In one, bare legs end in white-laced blue-and-white sneakers. But in each case, the torso to which the legs belong disappears beneath the surface of bluish-gray water; the owner anonymous.

In Something in the Water, Bridger reverses the perspective, depicting booted legs treading water beneath the surface. But as with Mermaid’s Dream, the torso and the legs’ owner remain hidden from view.

And then there’s Disembodied. In this complex composition, a pink coifed head rests on a table, the muse’s tongue covered with Szawarski crystals spilling from a champagne bottle that’s being clutched by a dismembered right hand. But unlike either Mermaid’s Dream or Something in the Water, Disembodied offers up a cornucopia of clues – from a festive yellow boa to a half dozen colored balloons, a mirror disco ball and a black felt Bowler. Clearly, someone (Pamela Beckman) had such a good time at her birthday or New Year’s Eve party that she’s come apart at the seams!

But in Teaser, Bridger curtails the number of clues she provides. There’s a pink crocheted handbag, a stylish high heel shoe and two thin pink straps that could be part of a body or double strap leg harness.

“It leaves a lot to the viewer’s imagination,” Mila remarked in relation to Mermaid’s Dream. “Everyone comes up with their own interpretation, their own story.”

And that’s especially true of Teaser.

As a visual artist, Bridger employs photography to manufacture fantasy. Toward that end, she concocts compositions that combine of out-of-the-box constructions, cleverly-staged props and highly-saturated color. Her stylized storytelling evinces a high degree of kinetic energy, her trademark Expressionist flair, and typically (though not always) one or more members of her wide circle of adoring friends.

But with Mermaid’s Dream, Something in the Water, Disembodied and Teaser, Bridger appears to be taking a jab at our instant gratification, have-to-have-it-right-now mentality. The story she’s telling is not obvious. The imagery raises myriad questions but provides few answers.  The photographs force the viewer to slow down, stop and ponder. And in so doing, Bridger reminds us of a simple yet profound lesson. The things we have to work for are much more satisfying than those that are given to us freely. When there’s no devotion, there’s no emotion.

Take sex, for instance. Frenzied, breathless, tangled-sheets sex is built on the foundation of making another person want something with such ferocity that he or she is driven to go to drastic measures to get it. And therein lies the power of the tease. When the tease is absent, so is the tension. And when there is no tension, there is no release. If we’re being honest, don’t we all want to be seduced?

Hence those two pink straps ….

But seduction isn’t limited to sex. It applies intellectually as well. Curiosity stimulates the mind with a fierce, long-lasting intensity. Seeking an answer, an elusive solution can consume us for hours, days, weeks, even years – and end in crowning achievements like the incandescent light bulb, internal combustion engine, the internet or landing a human on the moon.

And what’s better than the promise of seduction to remind us of the value of engaging our mind and emotions no matter the nature or object of our pursuit?

Teaser – a simple construction that extends fantasy photographer Mila Bridger’s already impressive legend and lore.

March 23, 2020.



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