Have you ever found yourself entranced by an ordinary item to the point were you were on the edge of objectophilia, the condition of loving the inanimate? Have you, say, stared too long at an array of different fruits and veggies at the supermarket? It's not wrong exactly, just, well, out of all the things that could excite you—bodies, certain parts, types of play—you went home with a shock absorber you bought from the hardware store because you were curious what it might feel like over your genitals. Ken Lavey's work, Perfect Odd Thing, isn't that exactly, but it's highly suggestive and seems made to arouse.
Lavey's photos are about transformation and sexuality, stigma and debauchery. You didn't think you could get all of that out of a pair of vacuum cleaner parts, but there you go—Lavey forces you to pay attention to something that has never drawn your eye, maybe because it was forbidden, maybe because you just never thought of it.
Being in Lavey's studio is like being in a deconstructed hardware store. Everything is perfectly placed, and there are tripods everywhere. Things are positioned so precisely. I'm shocked when Lavey tells me he's never really thought about going into a sex shop before. Although with a studio like his, who needs to?
Ken Lavey is an artist and photographer based in New York. You can check out his work here.
Efrem Zelony-Mindell is a writer and photographer based in NYC.