“The idea is to use the simple action of putting tights on and taking them off”. In exploring femininity through the symbol of nylons, Polish artist Pola Esther has started a project documenting women with (and without) this soft apparel to find a territory inbetween traditional domesticity and sexual fetishism.

The idea is to use the simple action of putting tights or pantyhose on and taking them off. I wish I could stay away from the word tights, hence the nylons in the title. I wish there was a better English word… I guess pantyhose it is; in Polish “rajstopy” translates as paradise for feet! The action I mentioned seems to me like some form of dance… an erotic exercise perhaps, very individual form; it could be funny but also sensual.

This idea came from my broader interest in celebrating female energy, sexuality, sensuality, and perception of skin. In this piece I intended to reflect on intimacy, physicality, individuality and femininity. I feel as if by wearing tights a person subconsciously expresses their inclination towards female identity, undeliberately declares their femininity.

I invited muses to perform this act in front of the camera and answer a few questions about identity and female energy from domestic to fetishistic.

In this exhibition, I’m presenting the effect of my rendezvous – sensual portraits of 15 muses which I shot in NYC and LA accompanied by video interviews and movement pieces.

How would you describe the process of creating your artwork? 

It depends on the project. I’d say organic and often intuitive. I let myself be open to the energy of a situation or a person. I’m perpetually inspired by the environment, surroundings, and light. For example in “Notorious Nylons” I had a preconceived concept and method but shot it in unfamiliar locations and let my muses be free to choose the type of pantyhose they were going to use and other parts of wardrobe that made me exposed to unpredicted circumstances. What I actually like. I think even though I told them my idea ahead of time they didn’t exactly know what to expect. It made the interviews and their performance very natural and fun.

Our current theme is “Full of Desire”. So I’d like to ask you what your dream goal is that you desire for yourself as an artist right now, and what would be the ultimate success you would like to achieve?

I can answer both questions here together. At the moment my desire is to continue the “Notorious Nylons” project, exhibit it in other parts of the world and make a book. I can’t wait to meet and seduce new muses and share these intimate, intriguing conversations with more audiences. The ultimate success? Ahh! To never stop doing what I’m doing!

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POLA ESTHER is a Polish-born photographer and mixed-media artist who lives in Brooklyn,

New York and Old Lyme, Connecticut. Often in bold, sensuous color, Esther’s photos consider themes of intimacy, human connection and the feminine, finding echoes between the body and the natural world. Esther has exhibited her work in her native Poland, France, Bulgaria, Germany, China, and the United States


Photo / Pola Esther

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