By Kimberly Kersey... - Posted on 24 August 2010

Sep 11 2010 3:05 pm

Piercing Portraits: the Body as Canvas, is a dynamic photographic exhibition by Elsa Voelcker. The exhibition opens September 11th, 3-5 P.M., at the Starving Artist Gallery, in Keene, New Hampshire.  Voelcker teaches traditional photography at Franklin Pierce College and at Saint Anselm College.



The material on exhibit in "Piercing Portraits" is the outcome of a project, during which Voelcker explored through the lens of her camera and through interview, the overt and underlining reasons that individuals subject themselves to getting pierced. This project grew from a dare, when Voelcker was provoked to come to a piercing parlor and photographsome willing subjects. As Voelcker explains,  "I had many students with various piercings, and my daughter wanted to get one, so my curiosity was peaked.  It was interesting to watch an actual piercing; to experience the conversation and collaboration that takes place between the professional piercer and their clients.’ Intriguingly enough, she learned that to those involved, piercing is viewed as a temporary thing—this in contrast to tattooing.

Known for her remarkable skill and sensitivity in the area portraiture, Voelcker delves into the nature of her subjects and emerges with an empathy, which is central to a moving, artistic expression. She states: "I have to say that all the people I photographed were very nice, and there was a mutual appreciation within this community of artists. The most shocking thing I discovered was that most people I photographed felt that getting pierced was addictive: The dare to do it; the pain itself; and then the endorphin release afterwards was perhaps not all that different from how I felt after photographing it. I also uncovered the fact that piercing guns can not ever be sterilized and should therefore never be used for piercing even ears for fear of the spread of Aids or worse Hepatitus C. My hope is that showing the images will bring out more discussions to help all of us understand each other better." 

The exhibition will be at Starving Artist Gallery, 10 West St. Keene New Hampshire 03431

Opening is Sat., Sept.11th 3-5P.M.

show runs: September 11 – October 2nd

more info:



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