Placing portraiture on a plane equal to the iconic universality of portraiture and fashion photography, the works of NYC-based Zie Otto are at once nakedly direct and difficult to see. His pictures tend to foreground aspects of his subjects, so as to give their whole figure a decided air of ambiguity. Oftentimes, like a movie director, he allows his subjects to hide behind a mask of emotional expressivity: a look concealing the subjectivity of the person who actually gives it.
In Americanoh-New Glory White Isaiah Earth the gender of the figure photographed is ambiguously situated behind a scrim of painterly white lines, as though the picture had been captured just moments after paint was spilled by casually raising a hand. What these confetti-like splinters of white suggest, however, is an aura of mock-celebration, as though the subject photographed was unambiguously tethered to a particular gender. On the other hand, these same blotches of paint are merely a scrim, and are not dense enough to conceal the chest of the person photographed, who is androgynously neither male nor female, but someone embodying the characteristics of both.