Joel-Peter Witkin is an American photographer . His work often deals with such themes as death, corpses (and sometimes dismembered portions thereof), and various outsiders such as dwarfs, transsexuals, hermaphrodites, and physically deformed people. Witkin's complex tableaux often recall religious episodes or famous classical paintings.
Some of Witkin's works, namely those with corpses in them, have had to be created in Mexico in order to get around restrictive US laws. Because of the transgressive nature of the contents of his pictures, his works have been labeled exploitative and have sometimes shocked public opinion.
His techniques include scratching the negative, bleaching or toning the print, and using a hands-in-the-chemicals printing technique. This experimentation began after seeing a 19th-century ambrotype of a woman and her ex-lover who had been scratched from the frame.