I look at the image again and again. Initially I think, what an interesting composition. I like the soft colors and the unusual point of view. But very quickly my consciousness acknowledges the head lacks a body, and then I begin to think it the misogynist fantasy of a deranged male photographer. I am repulsed. The photograph has so many contradictions. Softness and brutality. The question, what is a woman without her body? Desire and arousal mixed with revulsion. The blood, where is the blood? Is there an air of sado-masochism? Complex emotions are generated by this one. Which makes it an exceptionally strong photograph regardless of the concerns we may have about the photographer and the young woman.
Originally appeared in "Lives and Still Lives: Les Gill, Frances McLaughlin Gill, and their Circle of Friends," published in The Eye of Photography.