For this image, Marla Rutherford wanted to achieve "the look of a plastic mannequin . . . a Stepford housewife, but wearing see-through latex instead of a cooking apron and 1950s dress. She looks confident and powerful because of her attire and gaze, yet helpless because of her abandoned surroundings. This contradiction is what I find sexy about the photograph," she says.
The subject of Abandoned Housewife, 2005, is Darenzia, a fetish model from New York City; the photograph was taken four hours outside of Los Angeles toward Las Vegas. As noted in reGeneration: 50 Photographers of Tomorrow (Aperture, 2006), Rutherford's photographs depict a surreal universe in which people from the worlds of sadomasochism and fetishism are posed in ordinary surroundings. This juxtaposition brings the strange and banal together, and allows viewers to feel more at ease when faced with people whose practices are seen as deviant. In her brightly colored images, Rutherford uses a style close to advertising photography in order to seduce the viewer. Her portraits of people from America's counterculture are brought out into the light of day and treated as commonplace.
Marla Rutherford's work has been exhibited in major venues nationally and internationally, and has appeared in Time, Life, and Newsweek, among other publications. Rutherford received her BA from Boston University and her BFA in photography from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California. She lives and works in Los Angeles.