• Shadows in Paradise, from the series Shadows in Paradise. © Marianna Rothen, 2015

  • Donkey Skin, from the series Shadows in Paradise. © Marianna Rothen, 2015

  • Curtain, from the series Shadows in Paradise. © Marianna Rothen, 2015

  • Risky Business, from the series Shadows in Paradise. © Marianna Rothen, 2015

  • Rosebud, from the series Shadows in Paradise. © Marianna Rothen, 2015

  • Candle, from the series Shadows in Paradise. © Marianna Rothen, 2015

  • Backstabber, from the series Shadows in Paradise. © Marianna Rothen, 2015

  • Still Life, from the series Shadows in Paradise. © Marianna Rothen, 2015

  • Cowboy, from the series Shadows in Paradise. © Marianna Rothen, 2015

  • Cowboy, from the series Shadows in Paradise. © Marianna Rothen, 2015

Situation and Seduction

Members only article

Taken from Photoworks Annual issue 22, Lucy Soutter introduces us to the mini series Shadows in Paradise and its central character, Blondie.

A glamorous blonde—let’s call her ‘Blondie’—is hiding out in a run-down old house. She is fully made up like a 60s French film star, but there is something off-kilter about her appearance: in some pictures her hair looks like a doll’s wig. She’s got one outfit that she wears in various permutations: a slip, a cotton dress, a stripy sweater and a leather trench coat. Blondie has time to kill. She sits around smoking, staring into the middle distance or looking out of a broken window. She doesn’t turn on the TV. She holds a book in her lap but doesn’t read it. She picks up the phone but she doesn’t talk on it. She is waiting for something to happen, a call or the arrival of a visitor. From the quality of her gaze, she seems kind of depressed, maybe even afraid. She sits on the front stoop with her head in her hands. She lies on the brown shag carpet staring at the contents of a spilled ashtray. And she may well have reason to be afraid. In one frame she is prone, as if struck down, outside the front door, with a battered pram overturned beside her. But she’s the one with the gun, held close to her chest as she smoulders behind a lace veil. A final image closes in on her face, veiled by hair now rather than lace, and washed out by bright sunshine, as she looks right out at us.

Shadows in Paradise, from the series Shadows in Paradise. © Marianna Rothen, 2015

Shadows in Paradise, from the series Shadows in Paradise. © Marianna Rothen, 2015

Cowboy, from the series Shadows in Paradise. © Marianna Rothen, 2015

Cowboy, from the series Shadows in Paradise. © Marianna Rothen, 2015

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Related project: Photoworks Annual Issue 22: Women

The latest issue of Photoworks Annual looks at women and their roles in photography, as subjects, creators and consumers. The new writing, new photography and powerful archival images presented in Issue 22, connect wider ideas surrounding the subject and share important recent shifts affecting women and photography today.

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