In The Model, Torbjørn Rødland examines one of the defining principles of his approach to photography: that the notion and meaning of ‘the model’ is open-ended. Hyper-aware that we view the world through endless filters that arbitrate our relationship with people, objects and images, from the mid 1990s Rødland’s photography has sought to penetrate postmodern surfaces in order to redefine the possibilities of psychological, erotic and spiritual subjectivity and interconnectivity. He attempts to tap into subliminal thoughts and feelings through images that are both sensual and cerebral.
Synthesizing an array of photographic genres and approaches The Model comprises elements of critical appropriation, diaristic snapshot, reportage, commercial and staged photography – all strung together by the iconic face of Polish actress and fashion model Malgosia Bela. The book brings together pictures of Malgosia made over a ten-year period in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, London, Warsaw, Oslo and Lofoten. In Rødland’s words, “We see her interacting with pictures, becoming pictures, being pictures.” Serving as an experiment in photographic language and code, each image elicits a response that equivocates between alienation and intimacy. With this in mind, The Model can also be seen as a love letter to both a medium and to a mediated woman.