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The Photography Portfolio of Polly Borland

An image of a person wearing a strange nylon maskUntitled

Polly Borland is an Australian photographer who has worked in both editorial photography and fine art photography. In her portfolio, Borland favours imagery of the human form, but often distorts this form using clothing, nylon fabric, and bizarre or fanciful makeup.

A photo of a human figure in a strange, distorted costumeUntitled


I find the artist’s work with nylon stockings quite interesting. The focal points of many of Borland’s photographs are bizarre, vaguely flesh-like forms created with bundles of what appear to be nylon stockings. The placement of these forms -- often on metallic or mirrored surfaces, or intersecting with human figures -- suggests an odd and fascinating tension between the organic and the synthetic, and between humans and our own manufactured surroundings.


The artist’s works with human models seem informed by her background in commercial and editorial portraiture, but in her personal practice, Borland takes liberty with makeup, staging, and lighting. Subjects are portrayed as imagined versions of themselves, though who exactly is doing the imagining is left up to the viewer to decide.

A photo of a person's lips with hugely exaggerated red lipstickUntitled

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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