41 / 50 by Chema Madoz, 1985

In essence, photography is used to show things. And each of those things has a meaning, accepted by all, which endows it with sense. We could say that things exist to the extent that they can be defined. Chema Madoz does not follow this universally accepted norm in his photographs. He imagines new meanings.

All kinds of labels have been used to define the Madrid-born photographer over the years. But he flees from those labels, because his work consists precisely in transmuting the common meaning of things.

By changing the concept that defines an object, the photographer ultimately gives it a new life. That is why Madoz’s photography is so evocative: it is written in the code that imagination itself is made of. And it is the viewer, upon looking at the image, who completes the narrative.

The selected image is one of his most iconic photographs. The perspective used by the photographer makes the glass look like the pubis of the woman standing behind. Thus, we realize that we are in front of a nude, as Helmut Newton did upon contemplating the work, exclaiming: “the best nude I’ve ever seen.” It has been reproduced and reinterpreted on many occasions and for different purposes.

Madoz’s insatiable imagination earned him the National Photography Award in 2000.