Sydney based photographer Petrina Hicks produces large scale, hyper-real, glossy images reminiscent of advertising catalogs or billboards. Simple, graphic and highly stylized, her work is sensual and glamorous. Her latest series called The Hippy And The Snake explores the relationship between women and snakes throughout literature and art, but with a decidedly Australian twist. She has placed women either smoking behind a wall of unnaturally bright foliage, lying in a tropical rainforest, hiding behind dripping wet leaves, or floating on a background of unbelievably bright blue, and scattered snakes throughout. The whole atmosphere of the series is one of a sweet teenager meandering through a sugary dreamworld, but one where there is always danger lurking behind the next leaf. It is a seductive setting and Hicks uses this unease purposefully.
There is a tension between the organic and synthetic. Ambiguity and duality is something I often aim for. On the surface, I use images that have an advertising aesthetic to explore its own language and codes, but it is the subtext in the content that works in opposition. (Source)
Hicks uses her background as a commercial photographer to her advantage. The models have blemish-free perfect skin, not a hair out of place and clean silhouettes. Using simple compositions, minimal props, and no unfussy details, Hicks’ aesthetic is as seductive as the snake is in her narrative.