Book Review: Showcaller
By Claire Blaha
If one were to compile the images of their life into a collage - no particular order in mind - what would be included? Society creates the rules for what is acceptable to reveal, and what is not; it is difficult to break these rules and remain respected. Many intimacies of life remain closed off, including nude portraits that aim to sexualize, until someone decides to open that door and push it open. In her book, “Showcaller,” Talia Chetrit spreads her life out onto the pages, a retrospective exploring intimate and important moments from the past 24 years of her life. This collection of work was published of a museum exhibition for Chetrit at Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne, Germany.
Some images were taken when Chetrit was growing up in Washington D.C.; as a teenager she would take candid photographs of her friends, or have them stage murder scenes. The images consist of the classic family portraits that are often framed, while others present what many would see as oversexualization of children. This early work shows her talent and creativity for capturing a maturity that many do not see in American youth. Placing these black-and-white images among her more recent work show her evolution as an artist and as an individual, but also her unwavering goal to show sexual maturity.
In the center of the book, the images look at the city lifestyle. Pictures of men and women in business attire and streets littered with cars and people seem a bit out of place among her other, often mature and sensual, work. The pale pink pages capture the details of everyday city life which contrasts with the posed portraits that Chetrit has shown of herself and of others close to her.
A tone of sexuality and femininity is established among the rest of the images. The naked body is showcased and celebrated with the aid of mirrors and through the intimacy of sexual intercourse. Many of her self portraits have Chetrit contorting her body, finding new angles to create an image that is exposing, but not necessarily suggestive in nature.
As the first book to present Talia Chetrit’s work, “Showcaller” provides a scattered journey of youth and naiveté to maturity and knowledge. It can be gleaned that Chetrit believes that these juxtaposing ideas are actually quite synonymous. The maturity that is possessed by young people and the sexual behavior of all people is an extremely important aspect of her work. This collage of her life over the past two-and-half decades expresses these ideas and shows how Chetrit communicates with the world around her.