Male Feet

In this body of work, I've been photographing people being tickled, documenting their reactions, their spasms and laughter. The tickler is rarely shown, but his or her presence is clear from the body language of the subject.

What's beautiful to me is the complex range of emotions people display captured this way. Are they in ecstasy? Terror? Hysteria? Rage? The body appears to become its own enemy, contradicting itself, sending out graphically mixed messages – Yes! No! More! Stop! – inside and out. It's an near-universal reaction. You can't help yourself. Unlike most portraiture in which the subject is able to pose and control or at least modify the transaction, no one can control how they look in the throes of "gargalesthesia" -- the scientific term for the reaction produced by heavy tickling, the mechanism of which has never been fully understood. It is by definition a state that lies out of our knowledge and control.


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