Petra Collins

Petra Collins, a 19-year-old from Toronto, has been eulogized by the art world for her lustful, candid and beautifully executed photographs of teenage girls challenging their sexuality. Collins’ intimate sun drenched images drip with a dreamy aesthetic. Images of school dances, short skirts with knee high socks and first time high school lovers, all reminiscent to scenes from The Virgin Suicides, engulf us with teenage nostalgia. Collins’ images are sublime. It’s as if we are given a delicate insight into the carefree yet often exigent days of teenage goings on.

I particularly like her images taken from ‘The Female Gaze’.  A blood filled bath, flowing blonde hair, thin limbs, schoolgirls with books clenched at the waist, the high school prom and touchingly pretty portraits of young females stir up feelings of longing and affection. The photographs are filmic, simple yet poignant. It makes me wish I documented my friends and experiences during my younger teenage years. I also like Collin’s photographs from ‘Reverie and Mystique’ but for different reasons. The photographs in this set are more dreamlike and fanciful, flowers, colour; texture and sparkle come into play making for some really beautiful images.

I’m surprised I hadn’t come across Petra Collins sooner. During my research I discovered that she is the casting director for the iconic photographer Richard Kern and being a big fan of his work, obviously I missed something. Being a long-term fan of the intriguing ex porn star Sasha Grey and following closely her collaborations with artists and photographers this is how I first discovered Richard Kern. From there I instantly became passionate about his photography, in particular his female subjects. They are all naturally beautifully yet unique in their own way and very much my taste. And here I find out that Petra Collins is the one to thank, as she’s the one who finds and casts some of the girls! It almost saddens me that we are the same age but it’s forgivable because she is extremely talented and very, very cool.

On top of being the casting director for Richard Kern, she is also the staff photographer for Rookie and curates her own online collective for females to showcase their work named The Ardorous. She also recently modeled for Moni Haworth, the founder of Johnny’s Bird. There you have it Petra Collins 19-year-old rising star.

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