Michael Donovan’s Best of 2016 (NSFW)

New York based photographer Michael Donovan isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, and we love him for it. His glossy, gritty images of women are so vivid and visceral you can almost taste them, leaping out off the page at you with a primal power. His work seems to echo that infamous Banksy quote: “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” His shots are unposed, purposefully disheveled, and he’s willing to get freaky in the best kind of way: all flailing limbs and dewy skin and jarring, up close angles that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

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Straddling the line between fantasy and reality, between sweet dream and surreal nightmare, he brings out an unharnessed and highly erotic energy in the women he photographs that is thrilling to witness. They exude a much-appreciated confidence and an electric sexuality – raw and uncensored and utterly captivating, whether they are staring down the camera or shrouded in shadows. There is also a winking mischievousness to these shots, a carefree playfulness about sex and nudity that we are all craving a little more of these days.

The images he produces as a photographer are rough around the edges and brazenly bizarre, like a strange and sexy fun house mirror held up to what we’ve come to expect from fashion photography. These dreamlike, colorful photos challenge you to think as much as they turn you on, and nothing is sexier than that. Donovan’s favorite shots from 2016 will be haunting our daydreams for the unforeseeable future, reminding us that getting a little dirty is good for the soul and good for the body.

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