Archive for November, 2007

Happy Birthday – Dear Blog!

Friday, November 30th, 2007

This blog is – give or take a couple of weeks – a year old. Since last December I have posted more or less weekly and sometimes more often. What a joy and inspiration it has been to publish directly to the net – with whimsy, humour and occasionally seriously. Without editorial or commercial constraints the blog has offered me a lot of fun and according to our stats it has a loyal and growing fan base. With a steady rate of over one thousand page views a day the blog is clearly popular and its popularity increases steadily each month.

Since the blog birthday roughly coincides with Christmas I have chosen the following image from an Optima magazine cover I shot in 1971. Optima was the in-house journal of the De Beers mining company

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A Book of Books of Nudes – Livres de Nus

Monday, November 26th, 2007

A new book edited and authored by Allesandro Bertolotti has just been published in France by Éditions de La Martinière. An excellent anthology of books of nudes and beautifully produced, it lists both Cowboy Kate (1964) and November Girl (1967). The book sadly has some notable omissions to its list of artists, not least of all the great nude images produced by Irving Penn.

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Here are some excerpts from the text and further below images from the layout shown above. Please note that the Cowboy Kate cover and spreads are taken from the latest 2006 edition, not the first edition reproduced in ‘Livres du Nus’.

Cowboy Kate

Sam Haskins, originally from South Africa, is the most gifted photographer of nudes of his generation.

In the process of transforming an erotic narrative into a Western and in order to get total control of the images, he produced almost every image in the studio.

Cowboy Kate is a triumph of rhythm and narrative drama.

November Girl

In another book, November Girl (1967), Haskins dealt with the challenge of representing love, specifically a girl mourning her absent lover. Despite understanding that she will never see him again, she nonetheless decides to wait for him.

Rarely has a photographic book been able to render a stream of human consciousness in such a skilful way. The book is a tribute to the power of love.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

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Lacy Lady

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

This graphic exploration was built from lace purchased in the Portobello road (around 1970) and the lips are from an enamel broach of (I think) Marilyn Munroe’s lips. The nipples – inspired by Tom Wesselmann‘s Great American nudes series – are constructed from wood and painted with gloss paint.

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The original version of this shot, as with the one above, was done as an in-camera montage. However, the ability to resize the lace overlay with Photoshop offers a welcome degree of creative freedom to the contemporary editing of a vintage shot. In the original, the lace element was too large, but of course in a pre-digital world one was stuck with the scale of the two sandwiched elements and a re-shoot was the only route to fine tuning. Long live Photoshop!

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