Using her own body as her medium, Dani Lessnau explores properties of the gaze, the body, and the photographic process. In extimité, Lessnau turns her body into a camera obscura to record intimate moments with past and present sexual partners. The camera demarcates internal and external space and underscores the penetration of her body by both light and lovers, but also her agency in image making. The female gaze renders bodies familiar and alien, tender and erotic, strong and vulnerable, specific and abstract. Blurred images suggest the fluid and visceral nature of relating to the other while experiencing ones own physical reactions. Lessnau’s darkroom process is heavily physical and tactile, complicating photographic conventions of how an image should be captured and read. The result is an experience of intimate space that feels at once voyeuristic and affecting.
Lessnau studied at the International Center of Photography, New York and is presently pursuing her MFA at Bard College. Recent group exhibitions include Our Souls to Keep at Field Projects, NYC; Figure Fuggenti at Acta International, Rome; Divina Comedia at XXXI Festival International of Sexual Diversity at Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City; Notas al Futuro at Galerié Breve, Mexico City; and Hidden Narratives at Rita K. Hillman Gallery, New York. In 2017 she was awarded an honorable mention in the annual juried competition at Baxter Street Gallery, New York. Lessnau lives and works in Brooklyn.