I used this photograph, by local photographer Melanie Schiff, on the homepage…

because I expected it would generate more traffic than usual, and, well, I was right.

But I also just think it’s a great picture. What gets me about it is not the nude woman, but everything else–the berber carpet, the drapes, the sliding-glass door. Without the beautiful woman in the frame, it’d seem generic, a stock suburban den. To me, at least, the conceit of the photo is that her presence lends beauty to her surroundings, and makes the viewer look at them with a friendlier eye.

Fred Camper profiled Schiff back in January, when she had a show at Kavi Gupta. Photos from that show are still online at the gallery’s Web site, and my favorites–Emergency, Spit Rainbow, Heyyou, and Lagoon, among others–all seem to find a profound bit of pleasure, be it fun or beauty, in explicitly simple surroundings.

The piece above is part of Schiff’s exhibit at the MCA, which opened Friday and runs through the 27th; she gives a tour of it on Tuesday.