Critics’ Picks

Untitled, from the series “The Deerslayers,” 1972. (© Les Krims)

Untitled, from the series “The Deerslayers,” 1972. (© Les Krims)

New York

Les Krims

Laurence Miller Gallery
521 West 26th Street
March 25–May 15, 2004

Like his idol Diane Arbus, Les Krims turned his camera on some outré subjects—notably, women in a variety of compromising positions. (The series titled “The Incredible Case of the Stack O’Wheat Murders," 1972, with its simulations of sex-crime scenes, is particularly egregious, while Krims’s early-'70s photos of his mother posed nude or with guns in her bra push the Freudian envelope well beyond most viewers’ comfort zones.) And like Arbus, Krims was a master of what Roland Barthes called the punctum—the psychological “prick”—and creating, in a single photographic moment, an experience of resounding poignancy. One sees this especially in the series “The Deerslayers,” 1971, in which he photographed hunters with their quarry tied to their cars. Images of blood dripping from a carcass’s mouth or of a boy staring in horror at his gleeful, deer-killing dad demonstrate Krims’s singular vision of “mundane” Americana.