Michael P. Smith Fund For Documentary Photography 2014 Finalist Katty Ryan Hoover Lake Como

Project Summary: Lake Como is a collection of images named for the nudist community in central Florida, the site at which this work was made. In rural Florida, like most of the south, the nude body remains taboo. And yet Pasco County, where Lake Como is situated, is home to the largest concentration of nudist sites in the U.S.

Fenced from public view, Como embodies the conflicting human desires for privacy and exhibitionism. The resort is an active but hidden subculture. Daily life remains prosaic, but often provocative.

These portraits consider subjects in their natural and built environments, which often reference the glamorous, Italian destination of the same name. Lawns are immaculately manicured, and docks hug the waters edge. Roman and Greek statues are frequent as plastic flamingos. The wilderness is embraced and tamed.

My inspiration is rooted in childhood memories of the area, where lush greenery veils any undeveloped land. Warm lakes are plentiful, the light is prismatic, and the heat is dense and salty. Scaled creatures linger just beyond sight.

Congratulations to all of the Finalists in the 2014 Michael P. Smith Fund For Documentary Photography

All images © Katty Ryan Hoover