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“Love Sex”by Gordon Denman. Forward by J.C.Gilbert. in German, French and English. Published by Edition Reuss, Germany.ISBN 978-3934020-75-7

“Love Sex”by Gordon Denman. Forward by J.C.Gilbert. in German, French and English. Published by Edition Reuss, Germany.ISBN 978-3934020-75-7This book is of the usual very high quality printing, paper and binding with all images varnished, that one expects from this publisher. My first criticism of this book is that it is sadly too small a format. Reuss have used the format they normally use for their colour pornographic publications. This work certainly deserved a larger format and the attractive value of a photo dust jacket with tasteful and sensitive typography. The second is that there is a variation in the quality of the work.

Too many some pictures would be considered hard-core pornography, indeed it would still need a most tolerant and liberated society to accept that this book did not actually break the vague laws of indecently. The subject matter is decidedly adult and depicts graphically, “Love Sex”by Gordon Denman. Forward by J.C.Gilbert. in German, French and English. Published by Edition Reuss, Germany.ISBN 978-3934020-75-7men and women and woman with woman, engaging in all the intimate pleasures of imaginative lovers. It however does it so powerfully, so tastefully, so extraordinary well, with a serious, creative gift, that I must admit to never seeing such explicit photographic collection that comes even close to the overall exceptional art standard of Denman’s work.

“Love Sex”by Gordon Denman. Forward by J.C.Gilbert. in German, French and English. Published by Edition Reuss, Germany.ISBN 978-3934020-75-7If we are going to show such private moments with the camera, then now that we have past the ‘oh how daring’ moments of publishing it must be at this standard. Gordon Denman has set the bar rather high and the aspiring photographer of such erotic subjects has a mountain to climb.

The monochrome images are printed with a hint of subtle duotone and they have that gritty, vivid contrast that is so often lacking in much black and white printing which produces dull and lifeless pictures. Compliments to both Reuss and Denman for this.

 

“Love Sex”by Gordon Denman. Forward by J.C.Gilbert. in German, French and English. Published by Edition Reuss, Germany.ISBN 978-3934020-75-7I am normally bored by sharing in two peoples sexual fun, it can even be depressing and comical. None of that is here in this occasionally, masterly work. Some of the photographs are a little too close-up and therefore tending towards the sex educational, clinically “Love Sex”by Gordon Denman. Forward by J.C.Gilbert. in German, French and English. Published by Edition Reuss, Germany.ISBN 978-3934020-75-7 impersonal end and should have been left out of the selection. I say this because they contrast vividly with the majority of the work that has so much creative energy and beauty, especially as there are close-ups which do work. There is also a sprinkling of more predictable penetration images, though these are sensitive and competent, they fall a little short of other, quite stunning photographs. 

One must also make great mention of the skilled and dramatic use of lighting by Denman, which is rare to see in any monochrome work and contributes to the success of his photography.

So this is an important book with though the faults I have mentioned, perhaps therefore a milestone in erotic art publication as it lifts hardcore pornography from the peeling wall-paper of the cheap hotel to the walls of a classy gallery.

Review by China Hamilton

****Rating

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“Naked Princess” The photography of Ken-Ichi Murata. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 978-3-934020-82-5

“Naked Princess” The photography of Ken-Ichi Murata. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 978-3-934020-82-5This book completes the trilogy of Murata’s work published by Matthias Reuss and the other two volumes already reviewed by me here. Both the work of Murata and Watanabe [just reviewed] hold together as a courageous act of publishing by Reuss, as he brings us“Naked Princess” The photography of Ken-Ichi Murata. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 978-3-934020-82-5 such an insight into the world of two of Japan’s most significant contemporary photographers’ of the erotic.

While Watanabe is mysterious, enigmatic and surreal, Murata is far more sexually direct and unashamed. The work selected for ‘Naked Princess’ seems to work in union better than in the other two volumes of his pictures. The photographs in this collection are withoutdoubt disturbing and very confrontational. The explicitness of what seems to be such female youth touches areas that unsettle and provoke questions of concern that challenge our western views.

All the Reuss collection exudes the publishing quality that these, often amazing pictures cry out for. Printing quality, colour, paper and binding quality, provide a respectful showcase that is essential for erotic perfection. ‘Naked Princess’ is a lush boudoir of sexual joy and the very devil’s darkness. One can almost in some images, smell both rich perfumes and the pheromones of physical and aroused lust.

If you are going to be so very ‘bad’, then boy oh boy, as a photographic artist you must be so very, very good, no, not good...brilliant.

“Naked Princess” The photography of Ken-Ichi Murata. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 978-3-934020-82-5“Naked Princess” The photography of Ken-Ichi Murata. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 978-3-934020-82-5I’m going to say it again to all who aspire to either appreciate the art form of the erotic or aspire to produce work in this genre; you must own and savour this work. Study it again and again. With each picture one must look much, much further. I’m turning the pages as I write this and though so many images that at first glance seem blunt and obvious, deliberately gynaecological, deliberately pornographic, they are not. They weave mystery, sexual psychology, perverted dreams, pure beauty and questions, questions, into ones mind, as so little work in the world of the erotic ever succeeds in doing. We can never hope to understand the Japanese mind, formed as it has been by such a complex history. Their relationship with the sexuality of their young women, their interrelationship with aspects of restraint and sadism, their ability to see the essence of sexual beauty, is far beyond our analysis.

All we can do is stagger back and be left with questions. Always the eyes, those young eyes that hold his camera and us will stay long after we close the book.

Review by China Hamilton

*****Rating

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“Tokyo Girls: Nippon Solitude”-  the work of Yasuji Watanabe. Foreword by Jean-Christophe Ammann. Published by Edition Reuss Germany. ISBN 3-934020-29-1

“Tokyo Girls: Nippon Solitude”- the work of Yasuji Watanabe. Foreword by Jean-Christophe Ammann. Published by Edition Reuss Germany. ISBN 3-934020-29-1My review of this book of photography will not attempt to compete with the most erudite and well researched foreword which covers every aspect of Watanabe’s background, activities, influences and historical context. I wish only to discuss the images at their face value. All art is submerged by intellectual context and dissection, we forget sometimes, especially with photography, that in the end the pictures must standalone and do their own selling without a background commentary.

I forgot I had this book and picked it from my shelves by chance when looking for a read while perched upon my morning throne. Perhaps I was in a different mindset when I was first given this book and didn’t register beyond the superficial. This time though I stopped to really look. I have reviewed here other books published from Japan by Matthias Reuss and yes they all reflect that countries obsession with female youth, the awakening gouache ‘schoolgirl’.

They are I hasten to add, all of adult age but Japan has this ‘thing’ about the ‘retro-activation’ of puberty. It is rather akin to the underlying view of the classic, so English, spanking CP world of naughty schoolgirls with their knickersdown. At this point the parallel swiftly ends. Yasuji Watanabe lurks as a disturbing genius behind his camera, darkness falls as it does on an oppressive British November night, it is Gothic sushi.

“Tokyo Girls: Nippon Solitude”- the work of Yasuji Watanabe. Foreword by Jean-Christophe Ammann. Published by Edition Reuss Germany. ISBN 3-934020-29-1I do sincerely think that this man’s work is quite extraordinary. It scores visually and emotionally on every known possible aspect of the art of photography. Like the very few in this medium, his inherent, majestic, visual gift permits him to effortlessly propel the ultimate in eroticism within a complex pallet from landscape to the urban.

The pictures are of course calculated and contrived but scare us with their Cartier Bresson moments of captured intimancy. However I stray from what is vital to his work... obsession. To a country starved of even pubic hair, it is there, dark and wirily tangled, here and there we even have rare glimpses of shaven secret places. Mainly we are teased with those naughty white knickers that have travelled from these English shores to the acquisitive Japanese. It is of course here that the essential crutch not the bottom is mainly featured, yet there is one uncompromising image of the spanking of a girl’s sweet, bare bottom with a carpet beater to make us a feel a little at home.

“Tokyo Girls: Nippon Solitude”- the work of Yasuji Watanabe. Foreword by Jean-Christophe Ammann. Published by Edition Reuss Germany. ISBN 3-934020-29-1As the pages of this bold, high quality, square book are turned; in strong, vivid colour we have sexual decadence, dreadfully disturbing child-like play, far from ornamental bondage, humiliation, stark“Tokyo Girls: Nippon Solitude”- the work of Yasuji Watanabe. Foreword by Jean-Christophe Ammann. Published by Edition Reuss Germany. ISBN 3-934020-29-1 landscapes, traditional beauty, urban and urbane poses in transient settings, sexual violence, humour, fantasy, the surreal, and the vile. It is as though he takes us through some dream of the endless possibilities that might be encountered by or befall these young Japanese women, who are still so often the fantasy doll yet so many have faces full of their awareness and knowing.

Though each image is photographic art of the highest order and oozing the erotic, a high percentage are clothed or partially clothed and some are just simply quite beautiful in the traditional, classic sense. In so many of the pictures you feel the subjects desire to be there, to take part, to display for the audience. One or two pictures are even potentially ludicrous in the Dahli sense of the surreal.

I guarantee that once you open this book, whatever direction you try and approach it from, it will steal your soul if you have an ounce of appreciation of what is amazing work. There are few collections of photography that I can“Tokyo Girls: Nippon Solitude”- the work of Yasuji Watanabe. Foreword by Jean-Christophe Ammann. Published by Edition Reuss Germany. ISBN 3-934020-29-1 look through with my jaded eye and be stopped and arrested constantly in my page turning and in some cases I just can’t stop looking. I wonder how I managed not to previously notice this work but now I have, I fear that for the first time in my creative life I may have found the work of another actually influential upon my own future progress... interesting?

“Tokyo Girls: Nippon Solitude”- the work of Yasuji Watanabe. Foreword by Jean-Christophe Ammann. Published by Edition Reuss Germany. ISBN 3-934020-29-1So I say in conclusion, that it is a collection that every photographer of the erotic, every student of photography should look at and learn from, even marvel at is without doubt. Though the subjects are uniquely Japanese, Yasuji Watanabe’s visual teachings will translate to the western woman. One word of guidance, don’t look at the superficially obvious, look for what is hidden but quite intentional.

 

 

Review by China Hamilton

*****Rating

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Francesca Woodman - Retrospective - Edited by Isabel Tejeda. Published by Murcia Cultural. ISBN-13: 978-8496898424

Francesca Woodman - Edited by Isabel Tejeda. Published by Murcia Cultural .ISBN-13: 978-8496898424 Francesca Woodman was born in Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. in 1958. She took an active interest in photographyFrancesca Woodman - Edited by Isabel Tejeda. Published by Murcia Cultural. ISBN-13: 978-8496898424 from a very early age and was only thirteen when her first images were made. Her parents, the photographer George Woodman and ceramicist Elizabeth Abrahams, were both heavily involved within the arts and they encouraged her to attend the Rhode Island School of Design. Here, whilst under the tutelage of Aaron Siskind, she took part in several group exhibitions, as well as having shows in her own right. In 1981 a monograph of her work was published under the title 'Some Disordered Interior Geometries' - the only book of hers to be published during her lifetime. Returning to the United States to complete her studies, after spending time in Europe, Francesca Woodman moved to New York, where she embarked on more ambitious projects, making large blueprints on blue or brown paper, series of images and text, as well as designing and making several handmade books of her own photographs. In 1981, a month after her first book had been published, Woodman, who had been feeling depressed due to a combination of problems with work and a relationship, committed suicide at the age of 22 by jumping out of a window in New York. Promoted by her parents, and posthumously championed by the international gallery scene, Woodman has since achieved something of a cult status, rather like Joy Division's Ian Curtis, having become the subject of novels, fan-fiction, songs and drama. She has been an influence on the likes of Cindy Sherman, Sam Taylor-Wood and Tracey Emin and a source of inspiration to many a fine arts photographer - including this reviewer.

Francesca Woodman - Edited by Isabel Tejeda. Published by Murcia Cultural. ISBN-13: 978-8496898424 For the most part Woodman’s work consists of images that explore the nature of woman as object. She was familiar with the work of Simone deFrancesca Woodman - Edited by Isabel Tejeda. Published by Murcia Cultural. ISBN-13: 978-8496898424 Beauvoir; in particular her book 'The Second Sex’ and, by often using herself as her model, she explored similar themes to de Beauvoir of identity and gender. In accepting de Beauvoir’s challenge to women, that they recognise their 'being-for-others' and that, having done so, it was for women themselves to then give this 'being' meaning, Woodman manages to avoid being either overly feminist or political; the work appearing to be much stronger for it. Woodman has employed the very fetishistic objects that have been used to objectify the woman’s body as a mere icon of male desire. These objects include such items as used within 'conventional' soft-porn such as lacy underwear, jewellery and high heels. Woodman, in making the images in the manner that she did, chose to assert, rather than deny or avoid, the fetishistic status of the woman’s body and, in using herself as her own model, Woodman is both the viewer and the viewed.

Francesca Woodman - Edited by Isabel Tejeda. Published by Murcia Cultural. ISBN-13: 978-8496898424 Much of her work takes the form of a series or narrative, with many photographs being offered in combination with hand written text, either in the form ofFrancesca Woodman - Edited by Isabel Tejeda. Published by Murcia Cultural. ISBN-13: 978-8496898424 narrative or poetic description - reminding one of the photography of Duane Michals. The images are always staged, somewhat theatrical and appear very intense and obsessional. As a model Woodman often hides her face from the camera, either by blurring or by being outside of the frame, and presents her naked body as a symbolic 'everywoman'. Her poses, and that of her other models when she used them, are deliberately chosen to play out the drama, and are not naturalistic, as they concentrate the viewer on the artist's own body and her surroundings. Often, via the use of long and double exposures, the body would be made to merge into the background, becoming one with the room.

Francesca Woodman - Edited by Isabel Tejeda. Published by Murcia Cultural. ISBN-13: 978-8496898424 Due to her aforementioned cult status many of the books and catalogues of her work, now out of print, fetch prices on the second hand market that put them out of reach of most people. With this in mind the recent publication - by the Espacio AV, in Murcia, Spain (produced in collaboration with the Woodman estate) - of 'Francesca Woodman - Retrospective' is most welcome as it offers an affordable opportunity for existing fans, and those newFrancesca Woodman - Edited by Isabel Tejeda. Published by Murcia Cultural. ISBN-13: 978-8496898424 to her work, to finally have a substantial collection of Woodman's imagery within their library. This book is based around the retrospective exhibition that was held at the Espacio AV in early 2009. Within the volume's 184 pages are approximately 90 beautifully and sympathetically reproduced examples of Woodman's art along with plenty of informative written material, in both English and Spanish, supplied by Marco Pierini, Rosalind Krauss, Mieke Bal and Fernando Castro. Whilst perusing 'Francesca Woodman - Retrospective' one cannot help but feel a dramatic sense of loss at the artistic potential cut short. Often imitated but seldom equalled Woodman is an artist who has inspired so many and this volume will ensure that she continues to do so for sometime yet. Given the high prices that previous books on Woodman command second hand, I would recommend that this volume be purchased whilst you have the chance - for once out of print it will only become more expensive.

Review by Christopher John Ball

*****Rating

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Infanta by Ralph Gibson. Published by Takarajima Books. ISBN-10: 188348913X

Infanta by Ralph Gibson. Published by Takarajima Books. ISBN-10: 188348913X Ralph Gibson was born in 1939, in the United States, and is an acclaimed, award winning, fine arts photographer. Widely published and exhibited, his images grace the collections of over 100 museums worldwide. He was first introduced to the power of the cameraInfanta by Ralph Gibson. Published by Takarajima Books. ISBN-10: 188348913X at an early age. In the 1950's his father worked at Warner Brothers film studios, becoming an assistant director to Alfred Hitchcock. Here Gibson would hang around the film sets watching westerns being shot. Later he found himself being called upon to be an extra and bit part player. This led him to became familiar with the use of light: "I still vividly recall the bright carbon-arc lights used to expose the slow orthochromatic film of those days. My sense of contrast must surely have been born during this period as well as the idea of a strong camera presence." At the age of 16 he signed up to join the US Navy who, as luck would have it, decided to send him to a photography school in Florida. "I took it seriously and experienced for the first time in my life a sense of self." It was whilst serving on his first ship that he had an epiphany: "I looked up at the sky and screamed, 'Someday I am going to be a photographer!' Forty years later I am still screaming." Upon leaving the service, in 1959, Gibson found himself furthering his studies in San Francisco. "I began to understand the language of abstract expressionism, jazz and beat poetry." In what was one more lucky break for Gibson, he was taken on as an assistant to legendary photographer Dorothea Lange. The most important thing that he learned, during the time he spent as assistant to Lange, was that the content of an image was much more important than the technique that created it.

Infanta by Ralph Gibson. Published by Takarajima Books. ISBN-10: 188348913X Gibson's favourite subjects are the human figure, sculpture and architecture, sometimes in combination. The human body, as seen via his camera, oftenInfanta by Ralph Gibson. Published by Takarajima Books. ISBN-10: 188348913X becomes sculpted, as if out of marble, immutable. Influenced by the films of Bergman and the 'nouveau roman' writings of Alain Robbe-Grillet, Gibson's photographs are somewhat reminiscent of Bill Brandt, Edward Weston and Minor White and can be best described as seductive, existential, visual metaphors. The images he creates are designed to generate a deliberate emotional detachment - emphasised by his much imitated use of extreme close-ups, strong contrasts and fragmented isolation. These lyrical images are often dark and brooding, incorporating fragments that offer up glimpses of tactile dreams, often with mysterious undertones, building layers of narrative meaning through contextualization and surreal, erotic juxtaposition. Such has been their impact that they have become a source of inspiration to artists since the early seventies when he published 'The Somnambulist' - the first of a trilogy of books. Over the years his work has found a much wider audience via its use on record album covers, such as the inner sleeve of Joy Division's 'Unknown Pleasures'. Still devoted to creating images, via his trusted Leica, on traditional 35mm film, composing in camera, without resorting to cropping in the darkroom, Gibson has become, for many, the fine art photographers 'photographer.'

Infanta by Ralph Gibson. Published by Takarajima Books. ISBN-10: 188348913X The book's title, Infanta, we are told, was inspired by a visit Gibson made to the Museo del Prado, in Madrid. Here he was taken by the 1656 painting by DiegoInfanta by Ralph Gibson. Published by Takarajima Books. ISBN-10: 188348913X Velázquez entitled 'Las Meninas' or 'The Maids of Honour'. This famous painting depicts a scene, within the Madrid court of King Philip IV of Spain, of the young Infanta Margarita surrounded by her entourage. What is notable about this artwork is that Velázquez has included himself within the image, looking outwards and beyond the pictorial space to where a viewer of the painting might be standing, as he works on a large canvas - Gibson was struck by the existential ambiguity of the painting. He sees the body of work, showcased within Infanta, as an attempt to explore "our fascination with seeing ourselves reflected in the psychological mirror of the human body." For Gibson, the nude is a canvas onto which an artist can project almost anything: "In photographing the nude, I can get the figure to reflect whatever idea I am engrossed in."

Infanta by Ralph Gibson. Published by Takarajima Books. ISBN-10: 188348913X First published in 1995, this 120 page, hard-backed and dust-jacketed, monograph opens with a 5 page introduction, entitled 'Venus Reclaimed', by former editor of the magazine 'American Photo', Alexandra Anderson-Spivy which is both informative and respectful of the work. We are then treated to a singlenfanta by Ralph Gibson. Published by Takarajima Books. ISBN-10: 188348913X page artist's statement entitled 'The Mirror of the Psyche' followed by over 100 stunning monochromatic images, made between 1988 and 1994. These are displayed one per page, with a border that allows for plenty of space to breathe, the print quality, whilst perhaps not up to today's standards of subtlety, is first rate for the time. The book concludes with a witty four page essay, by novelist, essayist and former stripper Mary Gaitskill, entitled 'Naked Women' that explores what it is to be a woman, nakedness and being seen. Infanta is a book that one feels compelled to keep returning to, discovering something new with each visit, and will delight anyone who loves both Gibson's work and photography in general.

Review by Christopher John Ball

*****Rating

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Sur Rendez-Vous by Gilles Berquet. Preface, in French by Michel Onfray. Published by Jean-Pierre Faur Editor. 2000. ISBN 978-2909882352

Sur Rendez-Vous by Gilles Berquet. Preface, in French by Michel Onfray. Published by Jean-Pierre Faur Editor. 2000. ISBN 978-2909882352 As I have stated in previous reviews; Gilles Berquet is one of the very few, consistent, Master’s of erotic photography. Like all within this small elite, hisSur Rendez-Vous by Gilles Berquet. Preface, in French by Michel Onfray. Published by Jean-Pierre Faur Editor. 2000. ISBN 978-2909882352 work occupies a place of its very own. This is another, must-own book. Beautifully bound, subtle in taste and a fine piece of printing, the book is a fitting home for his work. Gilles has, with this collection of work, demonstrated that he has in part, taken a new and different direction. Towards the end of the book we are still treated to the extraordinary, disturbing and potent pictures that are his unique trademark, however the book opens with some very different offerings. These pictures seem to be very intimate and telling portraits. Such ‘simple’ images do occur sometimes in previous books but this collection has a considerable series of such explorations.

Sur Rendez-Vous by Gilles Berquet. Preface, in French by Michel Onfray. Published by Jean-Pierre Faur Editor. 2000. ISBN 978-2909882352 I love the frontis picture - this is printed as a clear recording of a section of his eclectic apartment and so, in that it is very similar to my own apartments, I have anSur Rendez-Vous by Gilles Berquet. Preface, in French by Michel Onfray. Published by Jean-Pierre Faur Editor. 2000. ISBN 978-2909882352 empathy for such a world. It features an almost casually sprawled, naked woman, legs so comfortably and totally apart. She also confronts the camera with a detached, almost cold, stare. It is a beautiful, uncomplicated, uncontrived portrait that launches the collection. Other portraits that follow use his printmaking skills to the full and dig far deeper emotionally, to provoke the viewer into stopping at each to ponder and reflect. What excites me so much is that he makes the creation of such exceptional pictures, seem so effortless. When you look through Gilles’s work you feel that you have to learn, to take something away with you from the experience. They drip, raw sexuality, a very dark sexuality that seems to be eroticism at its most honed and refined, the women are so very real, earthy, alive, mature and demandingly sexual.

Sur Rendez-Vous by Gilles Berquet. Preface, in French by Michel Onfray. Published by Jean-Pierre Faur Editor. 2000. ISBN 978-2909882352 Many pictures demonstrate his brilliance with printing techniques, to impart an almost transitory quality. As I have said, there are still his classicSur Rendez-Vous by Gilles Berquet. Preface, in French by Michel Onfray. Published by Jean-Pierre Faur Editor. 2000. ISBN 978-2909882352 images of women, suffering, pissing, explicitly positioned and uncomfortably bound. His subjects though always form the centre of our attention, they draw us in, often with their haunting faces. Truly this book goes beyond a collection of erotic pictures and becomes something that should be owned and cherished, for it enshrines both a visual and a deeply psychological world, like few possessions ever do.

Review by China Hamilton

*****Rating

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Mona Kuhn: Photographs by Mona Kuhn. Published by Steidl. 2004. ISBN 978-3865210081

Mona Kuhn: Photographs by Mona Kuhn. Published by Steidl. 2004. ISBN 978-3865210081Mona Kuhn was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1969, and is of German descent - spending time in both countries. She states that "Growing up in different countries opened my mind but it also made me a bit melancholic at times." She earned her degree in the United States from the Ohio State University. Since 1998 she has been an independent studies scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. She has also found time to lecture about her work, at both the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Georgia Museum of Art, and has acted as a visiting artist at The Pasadena Arts Centerand. She has exhibited widely and 'Photographs' is her first monograph.


Mona Kuhn: Photographs by Mona Kuhn. Published by Steidl. 2004. ISBN 978-3865210081Kuhn is a friend of the photographer Jock Sturges, indeed she often uses some of the same French locations as Sturges, but, though his influence isMona Kuhn: Photographs by Mona Kuhn. Published by Steidl. 2004. ISBN 978-3865210081 evident throughout the volume, her style is markedly different to his - perhaps hers is best described as a cross between a softer Ralph Gibson and Edward Weston? In interviews Kuhn has stated that she is drawn to France because "In France the body is an egalitarian unity... (for example)...the breast of a woman is seen as patriotic, almost nationalistic." The photographs she produces are intimate little creations that display delicate tones, allowing for subtle nuances to shine through. Many images play heavily with differential focusing, sometimes with only the main subject of interest being sharply defined, sometimes not, with the rest of the scene being playfully and tantalisingly out of focus. Both the close-ups and the softer focused representations, many reminiscent of those produced by the Holga or Diana, are used to create strong, sometimes near abstract, compositions that give the impression of them being captured moments of a daydream.

Mona Kuhn: Photographs by Mona Kuhn. Published by Steidl. 2004. ISBN 978-3865210081Mona Kuhn has befriended many of the people whom she photographs - an achievement that she felt was crucial to the project. Relaxed in her presence, and before her camera, her subjects give the clear impressionMona Kuhn: Photographs by Mona Kuhn. Published by Steidl. 2004. ISBN 978-3865210081 that they are all extremely comfortable being naked. With a unique style, Kuhn's intimate photographs of both young and old are sensual studies that play with the contrasts of perfect skin and the wrinkles of experience, light and shadow, gestures, signals and gazes. The images she creates have an hypnotic simplicity; a delicate structure that belies the strict composition. 'Photographs' is published in a hard cover, with dust jacket. The 108 page monograph contains 50+ monochrome and colour photographs with, mercifully, a minimum of text - rightly leaving the work to speak for itself. The images are printed one per page, often with no image facing, on matt art paper and reproduced to the same high standard that one has come to expect from the publishing house of Steidl which, in this volume particularly, is first rate.

Mona Kuhn: Photographs by Mona Kuhn. Published by Steidl. 2004. ISBN 978-3865210081Kuhn has produced a collection of photographs that celebrate the human form, its sexuality, sensuality, fragility and its emotional strengths. Yes, there is more than a hint of decadence, and perhaps narcissism, to the lifestyle lead by her subjects that could alienate some viewers, but, in the final analysis, the images she has produced leave one breathless with their simplicity and delicacy and I can recommend 'Photographs' to you without reservation.

 

Review by Christopher John Ball

*****Rating

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Flagrante Delicto by Will Santillo. Published by Rosalbino Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0981740409

Flagrante Delicto by Will Santillo. Published by Rosalbino Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0981740409William Santillo was born in New York, holds both Canadian and US citizenship, lives in Toronto, Canada and spends his time working between Canada and the USA. He graduated from the respected M.I.T. School of Architecture and it was whilst at M.I.T. that he had the opportunity to study photography under influential photographer, and founder of the prestigious publication ‘Aperture Press’, Minor White. Santillo later completed a post-graduate architectural course at the University of Toronto, Canada but he increasingly found "the camera's call stronger than the drawing boards".

Flagrante Delicto by Will Santillo. Published by Rosalbino Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0981740409 A project that began in 2003, and published late last year, ‘Flagrante Delicto’ - translated from the Latin as 'caught in the act' - is the first volume in Santillo's proposed 'Risqué' trilogy. The artist's stated aim being to “rise above the disembodied explicit images commonly associated with erotica by creating images capable of possessing a longevity to arouse both the mind and body.”

Flagrante Delicto by Will Santillo. Published by Rosalbino Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0981740409 ‘Flagrante Delicto’ opens with a 2 page preface entitled ‘Artist’s Notes’ in which Santillo sets out his reasoning behind this particular Flagrante Delicto by Will Santillo. Published by Rosalbino Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0981740409 body of work. For 25 years he pursued a career within architectural design and commercial photography, having been exhibited in Berlin, Paris and New York, but it was, he states, the infamous events of September 11th 2001 that caused him to rethink and re-evaluate the direction of his work. He states that “two revelations immediately entered my mind” - the first being “the vulnerable nature of human existence…each day should be approached with the awareness and urgency of the knowledge that it could be your last” and the second that it seemed imperative to him that artists should make an effort to “counteract the raw energy of hatred and destruction unmasked on that and subsequent days”. He wanted to project an “affirmation of life which is manifested through the creative energies of art and passion.” To be honest I am always a bit cynical of artist’s statements and, as a practicing artist, I do my best to refrain from making them. I have read few that added anything to a work, often they serve to distract from it and many are simply pretentious. I wouldn’t call this the worst example by any means, indeed it is very informative; but placing a direct connection to this body of work and events such as 9/11 I do find tenuous at best. Where Santillo is on much firmer ground, particularly with this monograph, is the challenge he sets himself: “would it be possible to create photographs that were both sexually explicit, yet equally artistic and erotically provocative?”

Flagrante Delicto by Will Santillo. Published by Rosalbino Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0981740409 When it came to selecting the models Santillo set down two basic rules – “that the people involved in the scene would know each other before the particular photo-session” and that “all the participants would be enthusiastic volunteers, rather than paid models.” This last ‘rule’ was important to him as he felt the hire of professional models would be less natural and result in a performance rather than an “unscripted opportunity for genuine emotional and physical fulfillment… …to manifest authentic instances of connection.” He also states that the images were neither rehearsed or directed and are therefore “pure documentary photography” - an interesting take on reportage, certainly taking it out of its comfort zone and indeed many images, within this monograph, could be argued to have fallen into the category that Henri Cartier-Bresson would have called "the decisive moment." Though it might be argued by some that the work might carry a little bit more weight, in the genre of reportage, if some of the subjects before the lens had been a little less than the perfect examples of the human form on display here, but that is a small gripe.

Flagrante Delicto by Will Santillo. Published by Rosalbino Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0981740409 The final images were “converted to a unique tri-toned black and white reminiscent of a traditional sepia tinting” but no other digital manipulation took place – all visual Flagrante Delicto by Will Santillo. Published by Rosalbino Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0981740409 effects being “captured in camera.” Many of the images exhibit subject motion blur, vignetting and/or differential focusing, similar to that produced by the use of a Holga or Diana toy camera, and this lends greatly to the spontaneous dynamism of the work on display. The sexual acts before his lens are varied and include heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual couples, threesomes and foursomes. One is allowed to see and think beyond the subjects themselves - the images are both the fetish and the sensual object. The passion inherent within these images communicates from the page to resound within the viewer. It is testament to Santillo's abilities as an artist, and the trust he shares with his subjects, that he so effortlessly creates a doorway through which each image becomes both erotic and sensual to the viewer – whatever their sexual orientation; an achievement of some note that alone is worthy of our applause.

Flagrante Delicto by Will Santillo. Published by Rosalbino Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0981740409 The images are, with but a few exceptions, displayed one per page leaving plenty of space for each image to breath. ‘Flagrante Delicto’ is a limited edition, heavy weight, hard backed, quality monograph, of only a thousand copies, produced and designed by Santillo and within its 156 pages are 125, beautifully reproduced, tri-toned photographs with a few colour images thrown into the mix. To return to the challenge Santillo set himself: has he created a set of photographs that are both sexually explicit, yet equally artistic and erotically provocative? To be honest; a small selection of the images don't quite make it out of the standard fare, they lack a little something that would set them apart and would have been best edited out, but, on the whole, Santillo has achieved what he set out to do and should be congratulated.

Santillo believes that the best erotic photography “speaks to our primal instincts. It feeds the soul and allows us, for a brief moment, to touch with abandon our essence.” I share this view and believe that erotic art is finally and confidently starting to come out of the shadows to take its rightful place as a serious subject worthy of intellectual artistic study and ‘Flagrante Delicto’ is helping towards this goal. I look forward to future volumes within this trilogy.

Review by Christopher John Ball

*****Rating

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Active Nudists: Living Naked at Home and in Public by Richard Foley. Published by Edition Reuss. 2009. ISBN 978-3934020689

Active Nudists: Living Naked at Home and in Public by Richard Foley. Published by Edition Reuss. 2009. ISBN 978-3934020689 This is an enchanting book, though the multi-lingual texts that go with the various sections are probably only of interest to true nudists. It would haveActive Nudists: Living Naked at Home and in Public by Richard Foley. Published by Edition Reuss. 2009. ISBN 978-3934020689 benefited from fewer words and more of the wonderful pictures and many larger than thumbnails. It is the pictures that carry this beautifully printed, quality book. Nudism is not sexual or erotic, it is just a wonderful freedom from convention and an enthusiastic rejoicing in the beauty of the human body, all ages, all sizes.

 

Active Nudists: Living Naked at Home and in Public by Richard Foley. Published by Edition Reuss. 2009. ISBN 978-3934020689 I have enjoyed the odd Mediterranean nudist beach with my wife for holidays and can confirm that the removal of all clothing, brakes down barriers of Active Nudists: Living Naked at Home and in Public by Richard Foley. Published by Edition Reuss. 2009. ISBN 978-3934020689 language and race, encourages friendship and sun burn and even now I hate swimming with any clothing on. There is beauty in this book and there is fun and even humour. Lots of people share so happily their freedom and their privacy with us. There are many photo-journalistic snaps but also some attempts at serious pictures.

 

Active Nudists: Living Naked at Home and in Public by Richard Foley. Published by Edition Reuss. 2009. ISBN 978-3934020689 A book such as this is difficult to categorise, I find flicking through its pages relaxing and often I envy the happiness that seems to jump from the pictures. As I said, I think excessive text spoils a book that is after all about the people and their wonderful lifestyle and being in three languages stretches out the writing well beyond its original intention. I’m sure some will want to read but nudism is about the body and to appreciate that we have to see it.

 

Review by China Hamilton

***Rating

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Pussy Portraits by Frannie Adams. Published by Edition Reuss. 2009. ISBN 978-3934020696

Pussy Portraits by Frannie Adams. Published by Edition Reuss. 2009. ISBN 978-3934020696I commend the book on the standard of presentation. The hardback cover is in a subtle, mottled, and appropriate pink, with sophisticated, silver embossed typography. I would have chosen, a more subtle and certainly more erotic title of say ‘the Pink Book’ however in some way its more marketable title seems suitable in this case.

It has to be the most extraordinary ‘erotic’ book of all time as its unique concept actually works. Basically it consists of each pair of pages having on the left, the portrait, in extreme, passport, full face, close up, of the woman concerned and they are all, natural and delightfully ordinary. On the right, a clinically sharp, exceptional close up of their genitalia. I do hope that each sweet, smiling face, has been religiously correlated with its correct private place?

Pussy Portraits by Frannie Adams. Published by Edition Reuss. 2009. ISBN 978-3934020696I will make one considerable reservation - 'erotic' this book certainly isn’t, except perhaps to the Japanese male. The close up of the genitals are just too closePussy Portraits by Frannie Adams. Published by Edition Reuss. 2009. ISBN 978-3934020696 and too impersonal or detached even, a better word, as one might expect to find, in a gynaecological textbook for students. If the photography had moved back a little so that we had a touch of thigh and mound, now then it would have achieved a fundamental and I feel vital sexuality. I doubt if that was the intention though. American, female photographer, Frannie Adams, wants us instead, to rejoice in the individuality, the uniqueness of each offering, appreciating each sex, as being as unique as a facial portrait and seeing this beautiful, female organ, as the intricate and extraordinary thing that it is. The clinical detachment almost imbues the pictures, with a poetic, abstract quality. On that level the book certainly works and also intrigues us, as we all have to look and I’m sure in the case of women, compare. There must also be the intention to attempt to relate the sex to the face, almost as though one meets the woman and tries to imagine what it might look like, here though, that uncertainty is removed.

Pussy Portraits by Frannie Adams. Published by Edition Reuss. 2009. ISBN 978-3934020696So, the book does play a strange mind game with us and the more we start to accept its strange concept and take it seriously, the more it seems to playPussy Portraits by Frannie Adams. Published by Edition Reuss. 2009. ISBN 978-3934020696 with our minds. So as a work of photographic record it works and had to have been done and as a work of the erotic, well its plays around the edges in a strange way. I think for those two reasons, it is a creative act of some considerable success.

It has been perfectly presented as a publishing project by Edition Reuss, with care, taste and thought. For this reason what could have been a little tacky and gratuitous is quite the opposite and is certainly a collectors’ book.

Review by China Hamilton

****Rating

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Il Teatro Della Vita. Jan Saudek. Published by Selezione d’lmmagini. 1981 and Jan Saudek. Published by Taschen. 1998. ISBN 3-8228-7429-9

Il Teatro Della Vita. Jan Saudek. Published by Selezione d’lmmagini. 1981I’m going to look at two monographs by Jan Saudek for they have nearly twenty years between them. They are also two of quite a number of publications of this man’s work but do demonstrate the progress of time in an artist’s work and life.Jan Saudek. Published by Taschen. 1998. ISBN 3-8228-7429-9

Every subject has a giant that towers over it, Jan does exactly that for erotic, fine art photography. I have had the real privilege of meeting Jan and of corresponding with him many years ago. We also exchanged prints and I am blessed to have his kind gifts upon my walls. It summed him up, that the envelopes he sent them in, were so painstakingly ornamented. For the very few, involved and interested in the erotic arts, in particular, photography, who are not familiar with his work... a few words.

Il Teatro Della Vita. Jan Saudek. Published by Selezione d’lmmagini. 1981 Jan is a Czech. I believe he made his living as a printer. The center of most of his creative universe, is his basement in his Prague home. Here, against its abstractly painted wall, Jackson Pollock style, he parades an endless stream of mostly Prague prostitutes I believe, with assorted, now seriously forbidden, younger girls and even children, for Jan has not been constrained by rules or convention in any aspect of his often troubled life. He sees it all as his art and his passion to express it. There are of course far more elaborate and complex creative offerings and when he needs a man in his pictures, he often shows us his own, lean and well endowed body.Il Teatro Della Vita. Jan Saudek. Published by Selezione d’lmmagini. 1981

The vast majority of his work, especially, his later work, has been obsessed with metamorphosis. He expresses and explores this in many different ways, it is also, of course, why females of all ages appear, as the change from childhood to adulthood and even considerable age fascinates him. There is also, portrayed and inferred violence in his work, slapped, female faces, guns in mouths and threats with knives, so Madonna shouldn’t worry that she is alone in that. There is also, love and tenderness, maternal and paternal, joys and sorrows. I have always said that his greatest gift, is to make all women, old and young, slim and obese look wonderful when naked.

Jan Saudek. Published by Taschen. 1998. ISBN 3-8228-7429-9He is a gifted print maker, an expert in darkroom techniques. He often floats in his favoured window, to provide scenes outside his grim cellar, most of his colour is hand pained watercolour upon a wet print. His prints are never huge and many are even contacted. He produced amazing, complicated images, long before people got Photoshop. What a clever artist he is.

I treasure, Il Teatro Della Vita, perhaps his first published book. It’s a very rare, small, hardback, all monochrome reproduction and a gem of publishing. The prints are carefully laid upon a white ground to give them isolated respect. They are simple and uncontrived, perhaps a simpler Jan, but they reflect his unique style, unchanged to this day. There is a lot of innocent, youthful nudity, which cannot be reflected here.Letter from Jan Saudek

The Taschen book Jan Saudek is a serious, large, coffee table work. It is quite retrospective and therefore an ideal introduction to the breadth of his production and subject. There are even some outdoor pictures and portraits. So it still is a very good doorway into the creative work of Saudek.Jan Saudek. Published by Taschen. 1998. ISBN 3-8228-7429-9

There is a great deal about the man on the web, so look and read, for he has had a troubled and often dangerous life.

 

Review by China Hamilton

*****Rating

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Pussy Power: Ultimate Portraits of Young Sexy Girls Photographs by Anton Volkov. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 978-3-934020-65-8.

Pussy Power: Ultimate Portraits of Young Sexy Girls Photographs by Anton Volkov. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 978-3-934020-65-8.This one of the almost pocket size books 24 by 18 cm that the publishers Reuss specialise in. It is, of course, a beautifully bound, colour hard back, on quality paper, with even the lovely touch of the colour cover image under the dust jacket as well.

This is the first book of the work of Russian Anton Volkov, with thanks it seems, to Jack Gilbert, who supports his work. ‘Jack Gilbert’ it isn’t. I must express distress at the lack of subtlety of the title. Yes, I think we all will know, without ambiguity, what the subject matter of the pictures is! I actually hate the word ‘Pussy’, as I hate the word ‘Boobs’, all coy and PC. In this case it’s also a misnomer, as there is hardly a pubic hair in sight. An earlier Reuss title, of ‘Shaven Angels’ would have suited this book as well. Why does Matthias Reuss do this, well, he tells me that it sells books and keeps him afloat, in these difficult times for publishers of quality photographic books, which cost a fortune to print and bind and that’s very realistic and valid, seeing as erotica or at least ‘sex’ is the name of the game. Reuss have produced some exceptional and important books over time.Pussy Power: Ultimate Portraits of Young Sexy Girls Photographs by Anton Volkov. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 978-3-934020-65-8.

Pussy Power: Ultimate Portraits of Young Sexy Girls Photographs by Anton Volkov. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 978-3-934020-65-8.Having grumbled so far, I must now change tack a little. Now I have opened the book, well yes, it’s full of very beautiful, very natural, young women. [Where do these Russians find them...? I must go] Yes, they are all, without exception, proudly showing their most intimate places. Pornography, no it’s not quite that. It’s really rather endearing and there is, on some occasions, real sensitivity to the photography, real skill and real understanding. Sadly, that skill, sensitivity and understanding does not exist in all the pictures, of which some are just down right casual and bad. At least, all the girls, I have to call them that, are very real, ordinary and as far from the dreaded glamour model as you can get. If some of Volkov’s pictures were in art monochrome, instead of strong colour, which always hovers on the edge of top shelf, they would be considered beautiful, erotic art, I do however say ‘some’. Also, why shouldn’t we see, so lovingly displayed and with such innocent enthusiasm by the women, the centre of their universes, of which I’m sure they are exceptionally proud, for most of the photographs don’t make us feel that this is what we must focus upon, instead, most portray an open, honest, full body portrait.

Pussy Power: Ultimate Portraits of Young Sexy Girls Photographs by Anton Volkov. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 978-3-934020-65-8.I think that Volkov has some talent and perhaps, if more consideration had been given to the selection, it would have been a very successful book. He is though, certainly a very lucky man, and in a way, it’s a joyous book. Of course this is certainly not art photography but then perhaps that wasn’t the intention? If you love the naked, flowering of female youth, in all its explicit glory, then this book is wonderful fun, which is why I must give it three stars.

 

Review by China Hamilton

***Rating

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Eros & Thanatos by Klaus Bottger. Published 1999 by The Erotic Print Society, [now ER Books]. ISBN 1898-998-191 Limited, numbered edition in hardback.

Eros & Thanatos by Klaus Bottger. Published 1999 by The Erotic Print Society, [now ER Books]. ISBN 1898-998-191 Limited, numbered edition in hardback. This is a book of erotic drawings. That is however where the mundane stops. I am going to share the excitement that Oliver Maitland communicates with his fascinating Foreword to this book and the story of his discovery of this artists work in a dusty corner of the Frankfurt book fair. Just to cover everything, the book also has two stories, by Lilian Pizzichini and Christopher Hart. No offence to either of these two writers but I have never got past the pictures, for that is what this book is all about and I mean all.Eros & Thanatos by Klaus Bottger. Published 1999 by The Erotic Print Society, [now ER Books]. ISBN 1898-998-191 Limited, numbered edition in hardback.

It certainly must rate as the crowning achievement of the EPS in publishing terms, never before or since have they done something so important, by sharing with a wider audience the work of this genius of an artist draughtsman. Klaus Bottger, is of the twentieth century but regardless of his actual subject matter, his ability stands him along side the greatest in the history of mankind. I am not going to repeat the excellent job that Maitland achieves with his Foreword, of dissecting this artist for us. My job here is to sell you this book.

Eros & Thanatos by Klaus Bottger. Published 1999 by The Erotic Print Society, [now ER Books]. ISBN 1898-998-191 Limited, numbered edition in hardback. Can you imagine, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci or Durer being born with an earthy and spectacular erotic sexuality and using their talents to convey, pure, rampant, wonderful, vile, sweaty, screaming, panting, erotic sexuality. Then add to that a man, who without a doubt loved and loved women, real women with round, curving bodies. Then add to all of that an ability that exceeds the draughtsmanship of those great, historic giants. Then, you have Bottger. Then you have a true genius.

That such talent should have been so directed to convey those, special, private moments of sexual bliss, that some of us remember and some of us dream of, in both tight and controlled brilliance or wild, rapid, extraordinary sketches, is unique.
Many have tried, many have got some way there, none have though come close.Eros & Thanatos by Klaus Bottger. Published 1999 by The Erotic Print Society, [now ER Books]. ISBN 1898-998-191 Limited, numbered edition in hardback.

Eros & Thanatos by Klaus Bottger. Published 1999 by The Erotic Print Society, [now ER Books]. ISBN 1898-998-191 Limited, numbered edition in hardback. I think I can produce erotic drawings but when I look at this book, which I do frequently, I know that I cannot. In his often, small, unfinished glimpses, one can smell the juices and intrude into the purity of rampant sexuality. I have suffered being an outcast from the respectable photographic world, I suppose, sadly, that Klaus Bottger will always suffer the same fate, because of the honesty of his detail and his subjects. He won’t be featured by a BBC arts programme or shown to young people doing art GCSE. I doubt though that he would care.

Review by China Hamilton

*****Rating

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Behind Closed Doors [A marriage manual with 2,000 photographs] Photography by Robin Schwartz. Published by Materia Medica, New York, USA. 1979. ISBN 978-0913568286.

Behind Closed Doors [A marriage manual with 2,000 photographs] Photography by Robin Schwartz. Published by Materia Medica, New York, USA. 1979. ISBN 978-0913568286.This has to be the most extraordinary photographic book I have ever owned. The only reason it exists, or rather was permitted to exist, was that it purported to be, as the subtitle a ‘marriage manual’ suggests, a medical work, complete with suitably, intellectual, serious text, by sexual psychologists and published by a publisher who specialised in medical books in New York.

Young, as she must have been then, Robin Schwartz, to clarify the matter, a rare female photographer, especially in 1979, has assembled what must have proved a darkroom printing labour of Hercules. The large, coffee table, hard-back volume, sets out its pictures on a format of nine to a page. Considering the date, the printing quality is very good, though with that monochrome, low contrast feel of a typical bromide and a slight lack of sharp focus that aids ‘artistic’ respectability. The typography is so seventies it should be in a museum. Though a native of the Big Apple; Robin lived in London, England at that time and all the pictures were taken in the city at No. 129, ‘late Victorian house’, we don’t know the street!

Behind Closed Doors [A marriage manual with 2,000 photographs] Photography by Robin Schwartz. Published by Materia Medica, New York, USA. 1979. ISBN 978-0913568286.She has used, as her subjects for all the 2,000 pictures, a quite wonderful couple; so quintessentially, as we would say today, vanilla. The young man, has a typically normal, healthy and fit body and a welcoming smile under a mop of curly, 70’s hair and as we will soon see, a neither too big nor too small, erect penis. The young woman is sweetness personified - possessing a quite beautiful, perfectly formed body with neat, medium breasts, neat pubic hair and a delightful bottom; beyond the pubic hair, though prudery intrudes a little, more is revealed towards the end of the book. The epitome of a suburban, respectable couple from the boring seventies. This is though where the stereotypes stop.

After seeing them collecting the milk from the doorstep, man in dreadful sheepskin coat with flat hat, woman in flower print skirt, they enter [the house that is]. Now, sansBehind Closed Doors [A marriage manual with 2,000 photographs] Photography by Robin Schwartz. Published by Materia Medica, New York, USA. 1979. ISBN 978-0913568286. milk bottle, the book starts its merciless journey with a stripping session halfway up the stairs. By page five or six, the girl now, pleasantly naked, demonstrates the pleasures of her sex by rubbing upon the round knob of the banisters. I won’t go on with a blow-by-blow account, except to say that we are treated from then on, to a feast, there is no other word, of every known position for penetration and we actually get to see that. From some of angles of the penis on show, we can speculate that some wicked alternative point of entry may be taking place. Nothing is censored, for we even see male masturbation in full detail, followed by the female version. Some pictures being quite naughty, we do also see, copious, graphic pictures of that American obsession, oral sex. We even see strange things being fitted, to certain places, historic sexual devices perhaps... I wouldn’t know?

Even by the more permissive standards of today, this is a very potent book, if only for the vast, unrelenting number of images. How it escaped book-burning in the seventies I will never know.

Behind Closed Doors [A marriage manual with 2,000 photographs] Photography by Robin Schwartz. Published by Materia Medica, New York, USA. 1979. ISBN 978-0913568286.Why I both recommend seeking out a copy and think that it is quite wonderful, is very simple. It is a unique, celebration of our sexuality, without a hint of pornography or even eroticism, which is a bewildering achievement considering the content. It’s just so damn respectable! Thirty or more years on it has become a collector’s item. It also has an immense value, as a massive source of visual reference, to all artists of the human figure. For it shows just what you can do with a body or two, without ending up at A&E. For that reason alone it matters. When I look at it from time to time, it cheers me up and I just can’t stop smiling.

Review by China Hamilton

*****Rating

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Galitsin's Angels - From Russia With Love by Grigori Galitsin. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 3-934020-34-8.

Galitsin's Angels - From Russia With Love by Grigori Galitsin. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 3-934020-34-8. There are two forms of the art of the erotic photograph. The first is where the creative input and construction of the photographer is totally dominant and the subject/model interwoven into the totality of the image. The second is where the subject/model dominates the picture, with the photographer acting only as the skilled recorder. This book, reflecting the work of Russian photographer Grigori Galitsin, falls definitely into the second category.

 

Its honest subject is female innocence, following inevitably in the tracks of David Hamilton. Though as far as subject and treatment, there is a correlation between the work of both photographers, the approach by Galitsin is markedly different and more successful. Whereas David Hamilton, has historically chosen subjects who are, by today’s laws, often well under the legal age, all Galitsin's subjects are, we are reassured by the Publisher, of legal age. There is also a complete lack of the tentative, even coy, soft and watery focus.

Galitsin's Angels - From Russia With Love by Grigori Galitsin. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 3-934020-34-8. Galitsin, undoubtedly due to the different attitudes and developments on a social level, of young women in Russia, has, by deliberate selection, been able to convey that illusive quality of female innocence quite magically. As the jacket notes observe, there are no piercing's or tattoos in sight. Further, we are treated to the natural, uncontrived beauty, of these young women, photographed, often candidly and explicitly, within the warm backgrounds of mother nature. Where pictures are indoors, they still seem to retain that gentle unconstructed and contrived feel.


Galitsin's Angels - From Russia With Love by Grigori Galitsin. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 3-934020-34-8. Galitsin understands the use of natural light and its ability to calm and enrich the picture. He often brings two young women together and records their far from sexual interaction. It is therefore a most refreshing collection that reminds us that the female form, at the moment of its flowing into maturity, can be truly innocent and free from both sexual and erotic overtones. Having been divested of any possible pornographic and sexual value we are permitted to step back and just appreciate the true beauty of the natural form of the female of our species. Laws and current attitudes and have helped to make such harsh divisions between youth and adulthood. The innocence of the female nude has almost been banished from our eyes. Today, it is either illegal or once eighteen, so often top-shelf pornography. Perhaps because Russia travels behind our often sad and dysfunctional western society Galitsin can, without contrivance, help us to enjoy and appreciate beauty for its own precious sake.

The book of course is printed and bound, to the exceptionally high standards that Edition Reuss always provide, as true value for money and respect for the work of the photographic artist. Galitsin's Angels - From Russia With Love by Grigori Galitsin. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 3-934020-34-8. As I said, this book of photography is about the subject and not about the Photographer. By stepping back and sharing the subjects with us, Galitsin has demonstrated his humility and his clear, technical and creative competence.

 

 

Review by China Hamilton

*****Rating

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Japanese Princess by Ken-Ichi Murata. 2005. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 3-934020-33-X

Japanese Princess by Ken-Ichi Murata. 2005. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 3-934020-33-XI recently posted a review on the companion volume by Murata ‘Princess of Desire.’ This volume of photographs is identical in size, format andJapanese Princess by Ken-Ichi Murata. 2005. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 3-934020-33-X publishing quality. It also has the unique, distinctive stamp of Murata’s photographic, often soft focus, colour tinted style. Superficially these books are very similar however this book explores a very different theme. Albeit using may of the surrealist cloaking's and suggestions that his work exploits. Besides the obvious attraction of sweet, mystical, young Japanese girls, often with the obligatory white ankle socks, the book has a darker, exceptionally sexually erotic theme. Our attention is drawn to the Japanese obsession with the female genitals. Such interest its seems forms a major part of the practices sought in ‘love hotels’. Japanese men it is explained in detail, enjoy nothing more than endlessly contemplating and closely examining this intimate female place. I would suggest that this may be, in part, due to the strict laws of the country that prohibit the showing in anyway of even a curl of pubic hair. What is forbidden surly becomes an obsession?

Japanese Princess by Ken-Ichi Murata. 2005. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 3-934020-33-XWhilst not all of these mesmeric and beautiful photographs depict this attractive hidden place, in as many ways as one can imagine, the subjects do try to Japanese Princess by Ken-Ichi Murata. 2005. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 3-934020-33-Xreveal their private wonders - with or without hair. Normally we would see such obviously and deliberately explicit poses as pornography, no matter how they are packaged, but for some reason our minds are not stimulated in such ways. Rather, we pause to explore the picture, for beyond the obvious, Murata’s sensitive and perceptive, creative skills provide us with so much more. It is as though he is saying, yes, that is a young woman’s sex, yes, we all know she has one and yes each is different but now start, once you have had you fill, looking beyond the obvious. Start asking questions, ask why she wishes you to see it so blatantly, why do I wish to show her like this when as you can see from other pictures I can show you coy, simple beauty with great skill? Why are there such strange things juxtaposed and why even is she where she is posed, amongst and within such a setting? I keep having to turn the pages of this book and I find friends who come to my house doing exactly the same.

I believe that Murata' work is very important within the context of erotic photography - he is a rare genius of his time.

Review by China Hamilton

*****Rating

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Claude Alexandre. 1992. Published by Treville Co., Ltd. ISBN 4-8457-0700-4.

Claude Alexandre. 1992. Published by Treville Co., Ltd. ISBN 4-8457-0700-4.This is a beautifully printed, designed and bound, large coffee table size hardback book.The large, monochromatic, rather grainy pictures explore the subject of BDSM. Claude Alexandre still runs, I believe, a little gallery in Paris that specialises in erotic work where long ago I exhibited! He has always been immersed in the darker side of this cities harder world. I would though like to see beyond the actual subject matter of this book and look at the style of its photography. A considerable percentage of the work deals in the close-up. This is often a danger area for photographers as such work can start to take on the qualities of a catalogue. Alexandre avoids this trap completely for there is equal mood and gritty force in these pictures as there is expressed in his more general shots. In many such images it is even just the sinister piece of equipment that is the subject.

He does grab hold of the essence of his world and does convey its secret and private side with real understanding. His lighting plays upon the shadows as much as upon the highlights, so avoiding the trap of loosing the intimacy and mystery that well lit versions of this scene so often do. Initially there is no beauty in the pictures but upon consideration a certain harsh beauty emerges. In more open shots, people of both sexes are seen at play as well as individual body portraits. Again, though there is a recording, unposed quality to the work, it still holds that vital integrity and fluid involvement without a hint of formality.Claude Alexandre. 1992. Published by Treville Co., Ltd. ISBN 4-8457-0700-4.


Emotionally I almost felt a feeling of sadness, nostalgia when looking through the pages. It of course calls upon work that is now about twenty years old and in that it is reflecting a time that I personally remember very well which seems to have vanished from the BDSM scene and been replaced by a polished, glamour vision. Alexandre has without a doubt a rare and gifted eye when behind his camera. Photographers could lean a great deal about the handling of this style of picture from his book. In other work that I have seen by this photographer he often tends to use more elaborate and contrived settings, so the qualities of this book’s photography show another side and another facet of his talents.

Claude Alexandre. 1992. Published by Treville Co., Ltd. ISBN 4-8457-0700-4.It is going to prove in time to be a serious record of the mood and moment of a particular sexual and erotic world, an accurate reflection of the roots from which it sprung without the dilution that often exists today.

 

 

Review by China Hamilton

*****Rating

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The World's Greatest Erotic Art of Today - Volume 2. Published by Es Publishing. ISBN: 978-0979596452

The World's Greatest Erotic Art of Today - Volume 2. Published by Es Publishing. ISBN: 978-0979596452

Review by Christopher John Ball Pending

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Princess of Desire by Ken-Ichi Murata. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN: 978-3934020-46-7

Princess of Desire by Ken-Ichi Murata. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN: 978-3934020-46-7This hardback book is about 32 cm by 25cm wide. Decent size classic coffee table, colour, bound and printed to the usual Reuss high standard. However coffee table book it is not, unless you have your table in a house like mine. Also of technical interest, it would seem that the monochrome pictures have been hand-coloured by the young, female subject and muse of this book, Yumiko Yamasaki.

Now, young Kenichi, that’s his full name, exhibits in his work, all the dysfunctional and disturbing thought processes that Japan is notorious for. HePrincess of Desire by Ken-Ichi Murata. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN: 978-3934020-46-7 does however do it all very eloquently and very differently to almost anyone else. I am reminded of the individuality and thinking of Gilles Berquet. In amongst and overlaying the carnage of psychosexual disturbance and often quite extreme sceneries is a wonderful serenity and poetic calm. This I find quite masterful and in its own way beautiful; so Japanese. Little Yumiko is of course so perfectly a stereotypical Japanese girl, young in the extreme, white ankle socked and with a face that shines with its purity. Ken though will have none of that and desecrates her and others in extraordinary ways.

Princess of Desire by Ken-Ichi Murata. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN: 978-3934020-46-7There is bondage, there are pipes of all kinds, there is dynamic pissing and I believe even worse. There is quasi medical, with horrific displays of instruments. There is also a timeless feeling of the past, wistful, playful, old Japan and its union with the natural world. Nothing is though as we would do it or see it. Though Yumiko dominates the book others do appear, it is often difficult to tell?Princess of Desire by Ken-Ichi Murata. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN: 978-3934020-46-7

 

This book is a must to own if you are in any way a student of erotic photography. It is a considerable success for the publishers. Dreadful thoughts shimmer through soft focus to disturb us but also to raise so many questions. It is a shroud for sexual unreality. It will never bore, it will demand that you revisit its pages.

Review by China Hamilton

*****Rating

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Naked Dance and Gymnastics by Ralf Mohr. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 978-3934020665

Naked Dance and Gymnastics by Ralf Mohr. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 978-3934020665Let me start with the format. A large hardback book about eleven inches square or 27cm. This accommodates the use of the square medium format no doubt, never the most happy of compromises for the human body, but as many of the subjects featured are more horizontal than vertical understandable. The title is totally representational of the content. It is all in, well printed, sometimes a little earthy, monochromatic with a hint of tone I believe. It features a number of totally naked women, of different builds, in an endless variety of action poses from the world of dance and gymnastics - it would seem? It is never coy and the women are explicitly depilated; so if you want endless nudity, well photographed, lovely female bodies either for pleasure or drawing reference then I would certainly commend this book.

Naked Dance and Gymnastics by Ralf Mohr. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 978-3934020665So why do I find myself so reticent in the use of superlatives? I suppose I am a little disappointed. Most of the pictures are on a dark stage or set Naked Dance and Gymnastics by Ralf Mohr. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 978-3934020665against a dark neutral background. There are a few taken out doors and some close up forming portraits. I do feel though that such a great opportunity has been missed. Most of the pictures, indeed all of the pictures could have and do crop up in the work of other photographers whenever they take a complicated, action pose, using a subject with an attractive body, against a neutral background. This book would have been truly wonderful if both the iconic symbols of dance and gymnastics had been present in the work and exploited to the full. Most of the subjects have normal, average hair; those erotic, tight hair nets and buns are mostly absent. I counted only two pictures where a pair of actual ballet shoes were being worn and of course nothing else.

Naked Dance and Gymnastics by Ralf Mohr. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN 978-3934020665Wouldn’t the introduction of the stage scenery of classic ballet have made a wonderful addition or the nightclub settings of the French cafe; even the ballroom floor, glitter ball above! The now very popular burlesque, would have lent a hint of the naughty which is so sadly absent. Also some of the equipment of gymnastics helping to show the body off so beautifully and in context would have been totally valid. Speaking of bodies, I felt that many lacked that gun barrel hard, lean, trim definition, that even women who frequent the gym let alone professionally dance or are serious gymnasts have?

It is though a book that artists would like to own and photographers find useful for pose references and inspiration. It would also make a well received Christmas gift though at about 50 euros, not a cheap option.

Review by China Hamilton

***Rating

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Oh! Julie - 100 faces of a woman. By Ben Marcato. Published by Fet-X. ISBN 978-3-9811582-0-5

Oh! Julie - 100 faces of a woman. By Ben Marcato. Published by Fet-X. ISBN 978-3-9811582-0-5 Now, here is an interesting little book. I must express a passion for small, intimate little books of erotic photographs. Such books fit into the pocket and can be viewed on trains, especially this one as the cover is very polite. Inside is almost as polite, as beyond a very rare glimpse of cropped pubic hair, many of the images reveal not even a saucy nipple. There is a photographic feel of the past; the harsh, high contrast monochrome having that earthy immediacy that the 35mm. brought to pictures. That is the very point of Ben’s collection of pictures of his muse, Julie.

 

Oh! Julie - 100 faces of a woman. By Ben Marcato. Published by Fet-X. ISBN 978-3-9811582-0-5 Many budding photographers think that it is very easy to take candid, informal pictures of a woman, just snap and hope. Ben proves them so very wrong. It’s actually very difficult; the line between success and a bad holiday snap is very thin and requires a special eye both at the time the shutter falls and later when selecting work. In Julie, he has found a woman that communicates her sexuality, raw, hard beauty and her energy. The apparent informality of the pictures I am sure belies a great deal of thought and care.

 

Oh! Julie - 100 faces of a woman. By Ben Marcato. Published by Fet-X. ISBN 978-3-9811582-0-5 Publishers often refuse to produce what they so often describe as ‘monomodel’ books: oh, that dreadful term! If, however, there is a subject that can excite in every picture of her then it is stupid not to make her into a homage. Also, it is not as nice and polite as I first suggested for, every now and then, Ben shows a picture or pictures that illustrate his fascination with a much darker place especially that harsh world of the humiliation and degradation of a woman as an apparent victim.

 

Ben Marcato was born in 1951 in the Ruhr, Germany and I am sure has much of his mind and eye formed by that difficult post-war period. The book comes as a thin, little soft-back, once owned you will turn its page again and again until it becomes well thumbed, scruffy and dirty just as he finds Julie on many occasions.

Review by China Hamilton

*****Rating

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Reflections by Guido Argentini. Published by teNeues Verlag GmbH + Co KG. ISBN-10: 3832792139

Reflections by Guido Argentini. Published by teNeues Verlag GmbH + Co KG. ISBN-10: 3832792139 Guido Argentini was born in Italy in 1966. Initially he intended to work in medicine and actually spent three years attending medical school before deciding to change direction. At this point medicine's loss became the art world's gain when he decided, at the age of 23, to pursue a career as a photographer. He now moves between Italy and U.S.A. producing images for publications such as Vogue, Playboy, Black+White, Marie Claire, Men's Health and Max.

 

Reflections by Guido Argentini. Published by teNeues Verlag GmbH + Co KG. ISBN-10: 3832792139 'Reflections' opens with a one page introduction by Argentini where he attempts to explain the reasoning behind the collection and its title. As is the norm for such introductions, this essay falls apart under the weight of its own pretension. Whilst it can be argued that all photographs are constructs the images offered to us within this monograph are particular constructions and not reportage - as such they do not afford a window into a woman's world as claimed but instead they offer up a chance to see that world interpreted, directed and idealised by Guido Argentini. Given that there is an element of self-portraiture in all art - it could therefore be argued that the reflection we actually see in this volume is that of the artist - there is indeed a subconscious acceptance by Argentini of that possibility within the book.

Reflections by Guido Argentini. Published by teNeues Verlag GmbH + Co KG. ISBN-10: 3832792139 If you already own his previous publications - Private Rooms and SilverEye - you will know what to expect and will not be disappointed. The images that Argentini has created for 'Reflections' follow on from what has gone before and are all sophisticated, creative and beautifully composed studies by a photographer at the height of his game. The 100 colour and duotoned images within this large format, coffee table, 224 page volume are all printed to a very high standard, though some are displayed across two pages, on heavy weight art paper.

'Reflections' is also available, through BoutiqueofUnique, in a strictly limited edition - signed and numbered by Argentini - complete with two stunning prints. This version is also uniquely offered in a choice of two presentation boxes specially created for this monograph - one a unique glass case with the other being presented in an aluminium case with mirrored lining.

Review by Christopher John Ball

****Rating

 


Crazy Babe by Bob Coulter. Published by Goliath Books. ISBN-10: 3936709041

Crazy Babe by Bob Coulter. Published by Goliath Books. ISBN-10: 3936709041Bob Coulter started out as a record producer and it should therefore come as no surprise to find that many of the motifs associated with the rock and roll business feature in his photographs - be it the use of the infamous Chelsea Hotel as a backdrop, the obvious sexual overtones and finally the paraphernalia of drug use - the iconography of sex, drugs and rock and roll inhabit his imagery with abandon.

Coulter is fond of saying "I'm not even a photographer" and he first started making images simply to create original content for his 'members only' websites. Indeed many of the photographs in 'Crazy Babe' have been featured on the website crazybabe.com, which Coulter says he set up in 1999 to "earn a few Crazy Babe by Bob Coulter. Published by Goliath Books. ISBN-10: 3936709041bucks" in what he calls a "get rich scheme." Though he first picked up the basics of photography at high school Coulter didn't take up photography seriously until the advent of the digital camera and associated software such as Photoshop. Initially he turned for technical assistance to professional photographers such as Nancy Davenport, Peter Gorman and Leland Ray whom he is lucky enough to be friends with.

Crazy Babe by Bob Coulter. Published by Goliath Books. ISBN-10: 3936709041The girls featured are all professional models, with some also being actresses, and the book is split into sections that are devoted to each model in turn. Published by Goliath in the same 7.6 x 5.8 x 1.5 inch, 368 page format as Naked Happy Girls and Bad Girls Hotel - 'Crazy Babe' shares the same strengths and weaknesses as these titles with the chief weakness being a need for a judicious edit, as there are, at 340+, far too many images of a similar nature for one volume, but this is countered by the print quality which is very good.

'Crazy Babe' is a light-hearted, colourful and sexy monograph that exhibits a lot of energy that some will find electrifying whilst others may find the experience a little underwhelming.

Review by Christopher John Ball

**Rating

 


Sieff by Jeanloup Sieff. Published by Taschen. ISBN-10: 382284439X

Sieff by Jeanloup Sieff. Published by Taschen. ISBN-10: 382284439XJeanloup Sieff was born in 1933, in Paris, to parents of Eastern European origin. He first became interested in photography when he received a Photax plastic camera on his fourteenth birthday. In 1953 he attended the Vaugirard School of Photography in Paris and later the Vevey School in Switzerland. After a brief stint as a reporter Sieff began a long love affair with fashion, the female form and dance. In 1958 he joined the celebrated Magnum Agency.

The work of this much loved and hugely influential photographer has been widely published in magazines such as Esquire, Glamour, Vogue and Harpers Bazaar and he was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in Paris in 1981 and the Grand Prix National de la Photographie in 1992. Sadly, on September 20th 2000, Jeanloup Sieff died in Paris at the age of 66.

Drawing from a body of stunning, yet subtle, monochromatic images, created throughout his forty year career and covering subjects as diverse as landscapes, abstracts,Sieff by Jeanloup Sieff. Published by Taschen. ISBN-10: 382284439X fashion and the nude - Sieff is a 288 page, hard-backed, coffee table monograph, printed to a high standard, on heavy weight art paper and divided into four chapters that cover the 1950s through to the 1990s. Sieff has also authored introductions to each section that are both humorous and informative.

Sieff by Jeanloup Sieff. Published by Taschen. ISBN-10: 382284439XSieff claimed that he didn't "give a damn about what will survive! I have never thought of building a monument to my own glory, however relative that may be. I do things as they come and because I like doing them" - despite his protestations Jeanloup's photography will continue to survive him. As a monograph Sieff lends itself to repeat viewing and makes a great introduction to the work of a master photographer who is sorely missed - an artist who made images simply because he liked making them. Seek out a copy now!

 

Review by Christopher John Ball

***** Rating

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Kinky Couture by Emma Delves-Broughton. Published by Goliath. ISBN-10: 3936709076

Kinky Couture by Emma Delves-Broughton. Published by Goliath. ISBN-10: 3936709076The fetish images made by British photographer Emma Delves-Broughton have been published in magazines as diverse as Loaded, Maxim, GQ, Front,Kinky Couture by Emma Delves-Broughton. Published by Goliath. ISBN-10: 3936709076 Kerrang, Skin Two, Marquis, British Journal of Photography and Professional Photographer. Emma has been making photographs since she persuaded her mother to let her convert a spare bedroom into a darkroom after acquiring her first camera at 16. She then went on to study graphic design at Birmingham University and turned professional after the positive reaction to her first solo exhibition held at the sorely missed f/stop gallery in Bath. She works with both professional and amateur models and these can range from students to housewives to strippers - but often they are simply friends who needed no convincing to don the rubber and vinyl clothing and pose for her camera. She has even been known to pose herself in a series of self portraits.

Kinky Couture by Emma Delves-Broughton. Published by Goliath. ISBN-10: 3936709076 Though more fashion than fine art and more vanilla than fetish - the vibrant colour images within 'Kinky Couture' are undemanding fun and this little book, with its seductive padded cover, is the perfect introduction to the world of Emma Delves-Broughton. In truth though - it is fair to say that 'Kinky Couture' is somewhat disposable, comes across as a catalogue for a fetish store rather than a monograph and it doesn't lend itself to repeated viewing - but it is a welcome change to get a female perspective on this particular genre.

 

Review by Christopher John Ball

**Rating

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Naked Happy Girls: New York Undressed Sexy Private Home Innocent Natural Sunny Erotic Real and Playful by Andrew Einhorn. Published by Goliath. ISBN-10: 3936709033

Naked Happy Girls: New York Undressed Sexy Private Home Innocent Natural Sunny Erotic Real and Playful by Andrew Einhorn. Published by Goliath. ISBN-10: 3936709033 Andrew Einhorn was born in the US State of Pennsylvania in 1964. He became infatuated with photography after working on the newspaper andNaked Happy Girls: New York Undressed Sexy Private Home Innocent Natural Sunny Erotic Real and Playful by Andrew Einhorn. Published by Goliath. ISBN-10: 3936709033 yearbook of Temple University where he studied journalism. After graduating he spent the next five years as a photojournalist with the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 1994 he made the move to New York where he still lives and works as a photographer, editor and comedian. It was whilst living in Manhattan that he first became interested in the nude as a subject and began by persuading friends and later strangers to pose. Many of these images were first used in a public-access television programme he produced called "Dog the Cat" and they have now been collated for publication in Naked Happy Girls.

Naked Happy Girls: New York Undressed Sexy Private Home Innocent Natural Sunny Erotic Real and Playful by Andrew Einhorn. Published by Goliath. ISBN-10: 3936709033 The book opens with a one page introduction by Emma Jane Taylor and then we are straight into the photographs. These are split into small sections devoted to each model and, in way of introduction, Einhorn writes a short paragraph on each. The photographer prefers to use the models own home as the location for each shoot and this adds to the image by allowing more of the models personality to shine through.

The photographs betray Einhorn's photojournalistic background, as well as his sense of humour, and are shot without enhancement - theyNaked Happy Girls: New York Undressed Sexy Private Home Innocent Natural Sunny Erotic Real and Playful by Andrew Einhorn. Published by Goliath. ISBN-10: 3936709033 remind one a little of the nudes created by Lee Friedlander. The collection works for a couple of viewing's but some may find that the style tends to overstay its welcome. This may be in some part due to the number of images within the book - at 368 pages Naked Happy Girls, like many of the books Goliath publish in this particular format, could have benefited from a little editing.

Review by Christopher John Ball

**Rating

 


Visions of Ophelia by Jack C Gilbert. Published by Edition Reuss . ISBN-10: 3934020453

Visions of Ophelia by Jack C Gilbert. Published by Edition Reuss . ISBN-10: 3934020453Born in the United States - Jack C Gilbert always thought of himself as an artist and as a teenager studied the paintings and illustrations of Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo which he attempted to emulate with varying degrees of success. He turned to photography whilst at college where he found himself fortunate to be taught by instructors who were themselves world-class photographers and who instilled in him a love for the medium. Inspired by the work of Jeanloup Sieff, Robert Farber and Joyce Tennyson - Gilbert soon began making and exhibiting photographic interpretations of the nude. In 1985 he graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in psychology.

Working in monochrome, and concentrating on models between the ages of 18 and 20 as subjects, Gilbert creates undemanding but well craftedVisions of Ophelia by Jack C Gilbert. Published by Edition Reuss . ISBN-10: 3934020453 images that exhibit an understanding for the medium and how to use natural light sympathetically to bring out the best from his subject.

'Visions of Ophelia' opens with a two page introduction authored by Gilbert himself. In this Gilbert initially refers to the Shakespearean character Ophelia - from which this monograph draws its title.

Visions of Ophelia by Jack C Gilbert. Published by Edition Reuss . ISBN-10: 3934020453Unfortunately, despite claiming that it was 'never a point of confusion,' it is in this introduction that I feel Gilbert comes a little unstuck as he attempts to explain the philosophy behind his work. He makes reference to the book 'Reviving Ophelia' by American psychologist Mary Pipher. Pipher's book seeks to examine the reasons why a young woman may fall prey to an eating disorder. Gilbert states that he had recognised the 'syndrome' during the time he spent working as a clinical associate in a US psychiatric facility. He denies any intention of 'centering on the psychopathology that I had encountered years before in my clinical work.' because that would be 'a betrayal of all those young women I had counseled' yet in bringing it into the equation he has done just that - the association with the photographs and the 'syndrome' has been made and, given that it is reinforced by the use of Ophelia as used by Mary Pipher and not Shakespeare, that was the intent. He then adds that 'each photo session was a bit like therapy for me' - sorry Jake, it doesn't add up and you cannot have it both ways!

Instead of adding gravatas to the work it detracts from it as one tries to establish a link that, to be frank, just isn't there. The imagery is strong enough to have beenVisions of Ophelia by Jack C Gilbert. Published by Edition Reuss . ISBN-10: 3934020453 published without an introduction - especially this one - and its inclusion has taken something of the mystery away, from what are without doubt good photographs, by trying to make this somewhat unnecessary and unfounded connection.

'Visions of Ophelia' is published with a hard cover and dust jacket. The 100 + duotoned photographs are displayed one image per page, printed on art paper and reproduced to the same high standard that Edition Reuss have established for themselves with their other titles released in this 28.4 x 21 x 1.8 cm format.

'Visions of Ophelia' is a good monograph - so my advice is: Buy the book, ignore the introduction and enjoy the photographs for what they are.

Review by Christopher John Ball

*** Rating

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Intimate Obsessions by China Hamilton. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 393402047X

Intimate Obsessions by China Hamilton. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 393402047X Born in London in 1946, China Hamilton became interested in art and photography from an early age and later studied drawing and painting at Croydon College of Art and Design. His images have been widely published and exhibited and he has earned world wide respect for his research, development and invention of several alternative photographic processes. He is also warmly admired for the generous manner in which he has mentored photographers who have sought his advice. This has all combined to make him one of the world's most sought after and respected artists working within the erotic genre today.

Given that he is also a writer - a book of his poetry and short stories will soon be published - the world that Hamilton creates marks him out as something of a philosopher poet. Though not, despite the S&M flavour to many of the artworks, that of a Marquis de Sade but instead there are echoes of Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Immanuel Kant and Roland Barthes. What also comes across from viewing this collection is the inherently sympathetic dialogue between artist and muse that has resulted in complete openness and trust.Intimate Obsessions by China Hamilton. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 393402047X

Intimate Obsessions by China Hamilton. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 393402047X Critics from the neo-puritan school have found Hamilton's work controversial, indeed a few of his images may upset those that set out to judge, but then we all bring a little of ourselves to the reading of any artwork and this is reflected back at us and many, hating their own reflection and refusing to enter into dialogue with it, seek the easy option and attempt to destroy the mirror.

'Intimate Obsessions' is published in a hard cover, with dust jacket, and opens with a four page introduction, penned by Hamilton, in which we learn something of his working practice and philosophy. The 90+ duotoned photographs are printed on art paper and reproduced to the same high standard that one has come to expect from Edition Reuss.

Intimate Obsessions by China Hamilton. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 393402047X If you already own any of Hamilton's previous publications then you will know what to expect and will therefore be eager to place 'Intimate Obsessions' within your collection - needing no recommendation or encouragement from a reviewer to do so. If you are new to the world of China Hamilton then you will find this monograph the perfect introduction to the work of this singularly unique talent.

 

Review by Christopher John Ball

***** Rating

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Lust and Pain by Guy Lemaire. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 3934020054

Lust and Pain by Guy Lemaire. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 3934020054 The sadomasochistic photographs of Guy Lemaire have been widely published in fetish/BDSM magazines in Europe and this has given him a cult following within the fetish scene. Lacking the grace, poetry and compositional subtleties of China Hamilton or the cold perfection of Robert Mapplethorpe - Lemaire nonetheless still manages to hold attention with a theatricality that reminds one of the work of Gilles Berquet. Where Lemaire differs from Berquet's style is in the way he adds an organic feel to the images by distressing the negatives and prints. In some cases this is done by abrasing the surface with sandpaper - in others he has bleached part of the negative or developed the print by brushing on the chemicals by hand.

'Lust and Pain' is published in a hard cover, with dust jacket, and opens with a two page introduction by Joseph Orban entitled 'The SebastianicLust and Pain by Guy Lemaire. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 3934020054 Lover.' By now readers will be aware that this reviewer finds many of the introductions that accompany photographic monographs to be problematic at best. Most add nothing to the imagery and often come across as if having been written by an angst-ridden student and serve no useful purpose. Orban's piece is pretentious doggerel that gets the gender wrong, contradicts itself and is simply painful to read - perhaps apt considering the nature of the imagery. To be fair to Orban - it could be argued that perhaps something was lost in the translation.

Lust and Pain by Guy Lemaire. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 3934020054 Where possible publishers should let the photographs speak for themselves - there can be no denying that the images in 'Lust and Pain' are powerful enough to exist on their own. If additional text is felt to have been needed it would have perhaps been far more informative to have replaced 'The Sebastianic Lover' with a biography of Guy Lemaire. The 100 + monochromatic images, within this 11 inch square format book, are printed one per page and reproduced on quality art paper to the standard that one has come to expect from this publishing house.Lust and Pain by Guy Lemaire. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 3934020054

Whilst not to everyone's taste - 'Lust and Pain' is a challenging monograph that is worthy of perusal.

Review by Christopher John Ball

*** Rating

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Naked Gymnastics by John de Lombardo. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 3934020372

Naked Gymnastics by John de Lombardo. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 3934020372 John de Lombardo is an Australian photographer and lecturer who is currently teaching within the School Of Art campus at The Australian National University. He is perhaps now best known for his work on a project he initiated, that he has entitled 'Artflex,' in which he photographs nude contortionists and flexible performance artists. The stated aim of 'Artflex' is to 'use such models to display the human body as a piece of art, twisted and contorted, but in harmony with itself and its positioning.'

Does it achieve its aim? Whilst the photographs are all technically well executed and competent only a handful go someway to satisfying theNaked Gymnastics by John de Lombardo. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 3934020372 photographers self imposed brief - the majority do not. Instead most come over as very ordinary and repetitive studio shots that do not give the impression that the models are either skilled contortionists or flexible performance artists - their talents have simply not been made best use of in the examples offered within the pages of this monograph.

This seems to be still a work in progress with a lot of potential but it is not something that holds together as a book at present.

Naked Gymnastics by John de Lombardo. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 3934020372 'Naked Gymnastics' is published in a hard cover, with dust jacket, and opens with a two page introduction by a Lewie JPD that is somewhat laboured and confused in its intent and would therefore have been best left out of this volume. The 120 + photographs, a mix of colour and monochromatic images the majority of which are printed one per page, are reproduced on quality art paper to the standard that one has come to expect from this publishing house.


Review by Christopher John Ball

**Rating

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Fetish Theatre by Alan Tex. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 3980501779

Fetish Theatre by Alan Tex. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 3980501779Alan Tex was born in Belgium in 1951. He has exhibited in Brussels, Barcelona, Hamburg and the Musée de l'Erotisme in Paris and his work has been published in magazines in Spain and the Netherlands. He is a member of the infamous club 'Galerie d'Enfer' in Brussels.

The 57 colour photographs are reproduced to a high standard and explore some of the same themes that are inherent within the work of Jan Saudek.Fetish Theatre by Alan Tex. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 3980501779 The models that pose for Tex are not your usual examples of human perfection that frequent most fetish imagery - this is the theatre of the grotesque, each image a dramatic tableaux that builds to emphasise and explore the horrifying or the macabre within the sexual arena, Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol.

Fetish Theatre by Alan Tex. Published by Edition Reuss. ISBN-10: 3980501779'Fetish Theatre' is published in a hard cover, with dust jacket, in a 33.6 x 24.4 x 1.8 cm coffee table format and opens with an interesting one page introduction by criminologist Sophie Bastiaens.

If you are looking for the glossy fashion orientated images that often pass themselves off as fetish then you will be disappointed - but if you are looking for something with more of an edge then 'Fetish Theatre' may well be for you.

Review by Christopher John Ball

***Rating

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The World's Greatest Erotic Art of Today - Volume 1. Published by Erotic Signature. ISBN-10: 0979596408

The World's Greatest Erotic Art of Today - Volume 1. Published by Erotic Signature. ISBN-10: 0979596408In 2006 US based 'Erotic Signature' launched an international erotic arts competition. Its laudable aim was to raise money for charities supporting those living with HIV/AIDS and also those bodies who raise awareness and research into said disease.

An international jury was created from an eclectic group of artists, museum curators, editors and academics - ranging from the qualified andThe World's Greatest Erotic Art of Today - Volume 1. Published by Erotic Signature. ISBN-10: 0979596408 experienced, such as Dr Laura Henkel, Javier De Pison, Julian Murphy and Dian Hanson, to the questionable, e.g. John Dietrich. Artists entered, the deadline arrived, the artworks judged, the 200 winners announced and the self styled 'The World's Greatest Erotic Art of Today - Volume 1' is the result.

The artists range from established professionals to non-professional and potential future names and cover heterosexual, homosexual and sapphic themes.

If I have one major criticism then it has to be with the book's title - it is cliché, cheap, clumsy and unimaginative but, more importantly, it sets itself up to the obviousThe World's Greatest Erotic Art of Today - Volume 1. Published by Erotic Signature. ISBN-10: 0979596408 counter criticisms inherent within it. Despite there being some great artworks within its covers there is much that isn't of sufficient quality or originality to justify the title and to be honest it is only made up of those artists that actually entered the competition. But the major concern is that it displays a very Western-centric depiction of erotica and not, as the title would suggest, one that is drawn from the many cultures and countries that make up 'The World'.

The World's Greatest Erotic Art of Today - Volume 1. Published by Erotic Signature. ISBN-10: 0979596408This sounds harsh and, to be fair, such criticisms could be made about many competitions and anthologies of this type but, in my opinion, the publishers have scored an own goal by selecting 'The World's Greatest Erotic Art of Today' as a title. I am surprised that they did not use the perfectly usable alternative title available to them already and that is 'Erotic Signature.'

The volume is split into four main categories - 'Fine Art', 'Photography', 'Digital Art' and 'Sculpture'. In addition there is a useful directory listing contact details of each of the artists selected for the book. The 255 pages that make up the collection are printed to a high standard, on heavy weight art paper, that does full justice to the artworks. The anthology provides for an enjoyable viewing experience and it is fun to compare the winners with the runners up and see if you agree with the judges as to their final decisions.

'The World's Greatest Erotic Art of Today - Volume 1' is published in hardcover, softcover and numbered limited editions.The World's Greatest Erotic Art of Today - Volume 1. Published by Erotic Signature. ISBN-10: 0979596408

Erotic Signature states that they have selected four potential benefactors from which one will be chosen, through a vote by members of their website, and that 100% of the profits raised by the sale of 'The World's Greatest Erotic Art of Today - Volume 1' will be donated to the charity that wins said vote.

Review by Christopher John Ball

***Rating

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Distance Fades Between Us - Dark Nudes by Tim J Phillips. Published by The Artist's Edition. ISBN-10: 0955700604

Distance Fades Between Us - Dark Nudes by Tim J Phillips. Published by The Artist's Edition. ISBN-10: 0955700604 British photographer Tim Phillips was initially inspired to produce his first monograph, 'Distance Fades Between Us', after watching Nicole Kidman perform a striptease whilst bathed in the light from a cars headlight in the 1995 film 'To Die For.' The collection was produced over a 12 month period, in various UK locations at night, with the help of eight models and with each image being lit by a variety of artificial and natural light sources.

The book opens with a brief introduction and then we are taken straight into the 130 monochrome images, that inhabit the 128 pages of the monograph, with the majority of photographs being displayed 1 per page. Given that the images were made at night, and therefore exhibit a variety of dark tones, the book makes full use of a white border and aesthetically this allows each image to breathe on the page.

Distance Fades Between Us - Dark Nudes by Tim J Phillips. Published by The Artist's Edition. ISBN-10: 0955700604 Phillip's photographs are more than mere formal studies of light and shadow. As constructs there is far too much drama inherent within each image for them to have been the result of a simple exercise. These are not soft-focused and romanticised images of women - the models often appear to wear the very dirt, oil and mud from their surroundings - taking on this detritus as camouflage. Caught in the cameras 'headlights' their gaze challenges us for a brief moment, just long enough for the camera to record their defiance and then they make their escape - scrambling through the undergrowth, negotiating a bridge or feeling their way through the constraints of a cellar and they are gone.

The images within 'Distance Fades Between Us' are well executed and remind one of a cross between Bill Brandt and Lee Friedlander, with a touch of Ralph Gibson thrown in, and the books theme is strong enough to provide enough variety to keep ones interest and draw one back for repeat viewing's.

Review by Christopher John Ball

**** Rating

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Ed Fox: Glamour from the Ground Up. Edited by Dian Hanson. Published by Taschen GmbH. ISBN-10: 3822845078

Ed Fox: Glamour from the Ground Up. Edited by Dian Hanson. Published by Taschen GmbH. ISBN-10: 3822845078

Review by Christopher John Ball Pending.

 


The New Erotic Photography. Edited by Eric Kroll and Dian Hanson. Printed in English, French and German. Published by Taschen. ISBN-10: 3822849243

The New Erotic Photography. Edited by Eric Kroll and Dian Hanson. Printed in English, French and German. Published by Taschen. ISBN-10: 3822849243 The work of 82 photographers, drawn from 14 countries, are collated to make up Taschen's latest photographic anthology 'The New Erotic Photography.' Within the 610 pages of this hard-backed, coffee table, book one finds a collection of colour and monochromatic photographs, for the most part displayed one per page, interspaced with a biography of each photographer.

The list of photographers include Guido Argentini, Didier Carre, Peter Gorman, Eric Kroll, Christine Kessler, Lisa Boyle, Susan Egan, Craig Morey,The New Erotic Photography. Edited by Eric Kroll and Dian Hanson. Printed in English, French and German. Published by Taschen. ISBN-10: 3822849243 Ralph Gibson, the late great and deeply missed Bob Carlos Clarke (to whom this collection is dedicated) and 'The Association of Erotic Artists' very own China Hamilton.

The New Erotic Photography. Edited by Eric Kroll and Dian Hanson. Printed in English, French and German. Published by Taschen. ISBN-10: 3822849243 The book opens with the obligatory introduction, so beloved by editors of such collections, and The New Erotic Photography offers us two for our perusal. One by Dian Hanson entitled 'Shedding Some Light' and another by Eric Kroll entitled 'What Is' - whilst I am not usually a fan of such introductions - most seem rather pretentious and detract from the imagery by adding nothing to it - in this case both are interesting and give an idea as to how the collection was arrived at.

The text that accompanies the work of each photographer is also informative - giving biographical info and a brief introduction to the philosophy behind their work - and again adds value to the anthology.

'The New Erotic Photography' is printed to the usual high standard that one has come to expect from Taschen but the main strength of this collection comes from theThe New Erotic Photography. Edited by Eric Kroll and Dian Hanson. Printed in English, French and German. Published by Taschen. ISBN-10: 3822849243 balance afforded by the inclusion of the work of so many female photographers within its pages, and their thoughts on erotica, and the editors are to be applauded for striving towards achieving this balance and offering us these insights.

'The New Erotic Photography' is a collection that keeps the reader interested and the differences in both image style and genre offers something for everyone.

Review by Christopher John Ball

*** Rating

 


Bordello - A Collection of Photographs by Vee Speers. Published by Periplus Publishing London Ltd. ISBN-10: 1902699734

Bordello - A Collection of Photographs by Vee Speers. Published by Periplus Publishing London Ltd. ISBN-10: 1902699734 Vee Speers is Australian by birth and studied Fine Art and Photography at the Queensland College of Art. From here she went on to work for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation where she photographed publicity material. Speers has exhibited widely and won many awards for her work - including the 1994 Hasselblad / Prophoto prize. For the past 15 years she has made Paris her home - living near the infamous red light district of Rue St. Denis. From her flat she watched the prostitutes displaying their wares and their clients coming to buy and became fascinated by the interaction and seduction "The art of seduction fascinates me. I love the game." It is this fascination that inspired her to produce the series of images she has entitled 'Bordello' a collection that has been exhibited in London, Paris, Italy and Japan.

Bordello - A Collection of Photographs by Vee Speers. Published by Periplus Publishing London Ltd. ISBN-10: 1902699734 Building upon, and referencing in both style and visual vocabulary, the photographs of 1920's Parisian nightlife by the photographer Brassaï (Gyula Halász 1899 - 1984) - Speers has deliberately accentuated the romantic and seductive atmosphere of her work by using the Fresson process to create the final prints. She states that it was important to use the the carbon technique of the Atelier Fresson so that the resultant images would be imbibed with "a more authentic, painterly quality.” To strive further towards this authenticity Speers' made her photographs, using none professional models, on location in former bordellos where the original and lavish decors survived intact.

Speers stated intention is to create “a visual celebration of the mystery of seduction” that is "respectful yet powerful." A celebration that also shows that "women have a different way of seeing the body" and how "models respond to a woman behind the camera" in a way that is "different" to how they would react to a man. She states that the work is meant to be an "exploration of sensuality and femininity" rather than "an essay on prostitution."

Bordello is published in a pocket book format and has approx 50 monochromatic images within its pages. It opens with a short introduction by Kate Hamilton from Black+White magazine. In addition - Paul Ryan provides a lengthy, and somewhat redundant, 42 page essay entitled 'Bordello - Inside the Maisons Closes.' The book ends with a short autobiography and a very interesting, but all too short, piece about the Fresson printing technique.Bordello - A Collection of Photographs by Vee Speers. Published by Periplus Publishing London Ltd. ISBN-10: 1902699734

The photographs are truly beautiful, captivating and they do indeed seduce the viewer - taking one back to another time where Brassaï walked the streets of Paris.

Bordello - A Collection of Photographs by Vee Speers. Published by Periplus Publishing London Ltd. ISBN-10: 1902699734 The images alone make the book a worthwhile purchase but, despite her denial, one cannot escape the fact that she has created photographs that can indeed be read as an idealistic and romanticised view of prostitution - how much of prostitution can really be said to about "seduction" and an "exploration of sensuality and femininity" ? - that these questions are left unanswered leaves a bittersweet aftertaste. It should not be forgotten that there is a fundamental difference between the photographs of Brassaï and Speers - the images Brassaï made were reportage.

This reviewer cannot help but think that it would have been better to have left out the piece by Paul Ryan. The photographs are stunning and as such they are strong enough to stand by themselves, in part perhaps as a homage to Brassaï, without the accompanying text weakening their case.

Review by Christopher John Ball

*** Rating

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Muse: The Art of Ray Leaning by Ray Leaning - Published by The Erotic Print Society. ISBN-10: 1898998965

Muse: The Art of Ray Leaning by Ray Leaning - Published by The Erotic Print Society. ISBN-10: 1898998965Born in the United Kingdom, in 1959, Leaning describes his early life as that of a solitary child who first taught himself to draw by copying the superhero characters that inhabited the Marvel and DC comics in which he sought solace. In addition to this he sought inspiration from the books that his older brother brought home from art school. Within these pages he found the works of Lichtenstein, Warhol and Allen Jones and it was from these that he taught himself how to grid-up and resize pictures and then use these techniques to create life-size cardboard cut-outs of characters from the comics. Even at that early age he found himself attracted more to the female superheroes, such as Catwoman and Supergirl, than to the male characters.

As he matured into a teenager he found himself inspired by the album covers of Roger Dean and the music of Pink Floyd, The Stones, David Bowie and Led Zeppelin. Muse: The Art of Ray Leaning by Ray Leaning - Published by The Erotic Print Society. ISBN-10: 1898998965Cruelly labeled as an 'idiot' by some of his teachers, due to undiagnosed dyslexia, Leaning, like so many creative children before and since, found sanctuary within the art room and classes run by understanding art teachers who praised his work and encouraged him to continue.

Muse: The Art of Ray Leaning by Ray Leaning - Published by The Erotic Print Society. ISBN-10: 1898998965After a series of unfulfilling jobs Leaning accepted a place as a mature student at Exeter College of Art, where he studied Fine Art Painting, and graduated in 1984. From there he has worked at various publishing houses, taught and exhibits each year at Erotica - the London fetish show held at Olympia.

'Muse - The Art of Ray Leaning' is the first monograph to be published of this artist's work and contains over 150 examples of his drawings and paintings, collated from a back catalogue of previously unpublished work, and shows how Leaning has developed from emerging talent into a professional artist.

Muse: The Art of Ray Leaning by Ray Leaning - Published by The Erotic Print Society. ISBN-10: 1898998965Interspaced within the artworks, and showing that Leaning has a particular talent for narrative, is an auto-biography that is informative, humorous, often self depreciating, at times very endearing and one that I really enjoyed reading - containing much that many a struggling artist could empathise and identify with.

Though he doesn't call himself a 'fetish artist' - much of his work could be said to fall into that category. The models, or muse to give his and their preferredMuse: The Art of Ray Leaning by Ray Leaning - Published by The Erotic Print Society. ISBN-10: 1898998965 description, are often depicted as strong, stylised beings that are somewhat romanticised and betray Leanings early comic book inspirations. Though technically good and executed perfectly - the black and white illustrations I found a little cold and repetitive after a while. I much preferred the colour work, particularly the early examples that exhibit the same vulnerability, warmth, humour and humanity of the person that comes across to the reader in the auto-biography.

'Muse - The Art of Ray Leaning' is published in a soft cover and reproduced to a high standard, on high quality art paper, that does full justice to the artworks - allowing Muse: The Art of Ray Leaning by Ray Leaning - Published by The Erotic Print Society. ISBN-10: 1898998965them to come alive on the page. This monograph is recommended to all those with an interest in the fetish genre and also to any aspiring artist - who will find the text educational.

Review by Christopher John Ball

*** Rating

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Exposure by Bruno Bisang - Published by teNeues Publishing (UK) Ltd ISBN-10: 3823845985

Exposure by Bruno Bisang - Published by teNeues Publishing (UK) Ltd ISBN-10: 3823845985 Bruno Bisang was born in Switzerland in 1952. At 19 he attended the School of Applied Arts for Photography in Zurich. After serving as a photographicExposure by Bruno Bisang - Published by teNeues Publishing (UK) Ltd ISBN-10: 3823845985 assistant Bisang began freelancing in 1979. His work now sees him jetting between Milan, New York, Zurich and Paris for customers such as Cosmopolitan, Vogue Homme, Photo, GQ, Deutsche Vogue, Chanel and Givenchy. Bisang draws much inspiration from his fascination with the films and stars of the 1950's - it was from avidly watching these films as a youth that he first realised that he want to be a photographer. It could be argued that his style of imagery falls into the same camp as Andreas H. Bitesnich in that, unlike say Roy Stuart or Richard Kern, Bisang's camera and eye tends to fall upon examples of what could be seen as idealised perfection.

The book opens with a one page attempt at a 'poetic' introduction from Muriel Amori that, as with all the text, is reprinted in 5 languages. The photographs are peppered with short paragraphs by Bisang such as this one from the inside cover:

"I believe that I have the ability to entice from a woman something that she has within her, without her being aware of it. To present her in a way that she has never seen herself before. To enable her to discover something in her own inner self which has until now been unable to surface. I transfer my own sensitivity to her; I give her my all. From within this common universe my pictures emerge." Exposure by Bruno Bisang - Published by teNeues Publishing (UK) Ltd ISBN-10: 3823845985

Exposure by Bruno Bisang - Published by teNeues Publishing (UK) Ltd ISBN-10: 3823845985 Given that the models are all examples of Amazonian idealised perfection and include Claudia Schiffer, Tyra Banks, Carré Otis and Monica Bellucci - it is hard to accept the claim that they have been shown something, in these photographs, of their inner self "which has until now been unable to surface." But then this reviewer has often made plain his cynicism with regard to much of the text that accompanies photographic monologues. Photographs should be allowed to speak for themselves and when they are as good as the ones exhibited within the pages of 'Exposure' why detract attention away by trying to explain them?

The book ends with a selection of photographs entitled 'Video Prints'. These heavily pixilated, low resolution, digital images are a welcome addition as they offer a counter and contrast to the preceding photographs of perfection and may point to a new direction for Bisang.Exposure by Bruno Bisang - Published by teNeues Publishing (UK) Ltd ISBN-10: 3823845985

Within its 200 heavy weight pages are approximately 150 duotoned and colour photographs - for the most part printed one per page. The large format, hard-backed limited edition version, of this beautifully printed and prepared volume, comes complete with an attractive slip case.

Review by Christopher John Ball

*** Rating


Action by Richard Kern. Published by Taschen. ISBN-10: 3822856495

Action by Richard Kern. Published by Taschen. ISBN-10: 3822856495 Photographer and film maker Richard Kern was born in North Carolina in 1954. He acquired an understanding of photography by accompanying his father, who was both editor and photographer for a local newspaper, on news assignments. After graduating from the University of North Carolina in 1977 he moved to New York City where he fell in with the underground arts scene that also included the likes of David Wojanarowicz, Lydia Lunch, Nick Zedd and Lung Leg. In 1985, as part of 'The Cinema of Transgression' movement, he started to make a name with his low budget films, such as 'Manhattan Loves Suicides', that showed the seedy, drug fuelled counter culture of Reagan's America. In 1986, working with Lydia Lunch and based upon her sexual fantasies, he made the infamous 'Fingered'. Along the way - Kern has found time to published several photographic monograms and produce music videos for Sonic Youth and Marilyn Manson.

It could be argued that Kern's style of photography is a continuation of themes inherent within the cinema of transgression. He tends not to favour the conventional photographic studio - finding that sterile - his 'studio' is his own New York Apartment. Here his models often pose in the kitchen, bathroom, lounge, backyard and bedroom where they can be caught, via Kern's camera, using action-men dolls as dildos, chewing on a packet of birth control pills, urinating, smoking cigarettes held between toes or taking off tights - tights, stockings and feet play a large part within the mise en scène of Kern's images.Action by Richard Kern. Published by Taschen. ISBN-10: 3822856495

His images have found homes within the pages of magazines, such as Hustler, and art galleries around the world, such as London's prestigious ICA. People react to Kern's images in the same way that they react to Marmite - one either loves them or hates them. They continue to divide and polarise opinion - James Gardner of The New York Post has said that "There's a moral element to Kern's work," whereas Sarah Kent, in Time Out London, hated the work, exhibited in London's ICA, to the point where she asked of her readers "Why is the ICA showing this nasty rubbish? Should this man be walking free?"

This coffee table 280 page monograph is published in hardback and has been edited by Dian Hanson. It opens with a single page introduction, entitled 'Detention', by Richard Prince. Other than that there is no further text - have Taschen taken note of my preference for letting the photographs speak for themselves without the burden of pretentious essays trying to speak for them? Doubtful - but it is a welcome change and Hanson and Taschen should both be applauded for resisting the temptation.

The photographs are, with but a few exceptions, displayed one per page and printed to the same high standard that one has come to expect from Taschen.Action by Richard Kern. Published by Taschen. ISBN-10: 3822856495 In way of a bonus - 'Action' comes with an hour long DVD. Entitled 'Extra Action' this comprises of film made by Kern that has a specially written score by Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore. The film is a series of photoshoots, set to experimental music, and split into 7 chapters - BBB, Insert, Legs, Misc, Rub, Wet and YG. Also included on the DVD is an extract from a black and white experimental short film entitled 'Hardcore'. As stated above - as with Marmite one either loves or loathes Kern's work. I happen to love Marmite. Try it for yourself and make up your own mind.


Review by Christopher John Ball

**** Rating


Solange ich Liebe - Published by Edition Reuss, 1997 ISBN 3-9805017-2-8

Solange ich Liebe - Published by Edition Reuss, 1997 ISBN 3-9805017-2-8It does take a very special selection of photographs to really light my rather jaded fire. Though ten years old, this book is still in print and deserves to be for it is a very special book.

It is a classic of monochrome photography. Forget that the subjects are beautiful and naked, for most of the pictures place them within the landscape as well. This is where the work triumphs. The nude in the landscape is usually a disaster for those who dare to attempt it for mother nature tends to overwhelm. Not in these photographs. The people instead form a perfect union with the often dramatic environments in which they are set. It is also powerful, contrasting and grainy old fashioned black and white.Solange ich Liebe - Published by Edition Reuss, 1997 ISBN 3-9805017-2-8

Some of the women are quite remarkable in their stressed erotic forms, displaying physical bodies that make you desire and gasp. There is even the odd male all so very exciting. I cannot find even one dud picture and some are ‘master classes’ for us all.

Solange ich Liebe - Published by Edition Reuss, 1997 ISBN 3-9805017-2-8The title translates as “As Long as I Love”. I regret that unlike more modern, three language books from the Edition Reuss stable it is all in German. All the pictures have poems with them by the very young Matthias Reuss and the typography is a visual pleasure. The book is the work of three photographers, Wibke Reimann, Matthias Reuss and Rolas Simulis. It is also interesting to see a major publisher of books of erotic photography put his own work before the world, it also shows that he understands what he publishers. Though less important than its content, the book is produced to the normal very high, printing, paper and binding standards that sets Reuss apart from other publishers of such work. It is a cloth bound hardback and so very collectable a book one will always learn from and never tire from browsing through.

Review by China Hamilton

***** Rating

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On Form by Andreas H. Bitesnich published by teNeues Publishing (UK) Ltd. ISBN-10: 382384556X

On Form by Andreas H. Bitesnich published by teNeues Publishing (UK) Ltd. ISBN-10: 382384556X Austrian photographer Andreas H. Bitesnich, born in 1964 in Vienna, is deservedly well known for his stunning black-and-white photographs of the nude but in his latest book 'On Form' he also turns his eye to colour. The majority of the photographs are made in the studio and share the same 'classical' and 'romantic' sense of composition Bitesnich is noted for and, apart from one model who is an amputee, the subjects are all examples of sublime Nietzschean "ubermensch" perfection - if you are familiar with his previous books, such as 'Woman' (reviewed below), you will already be aware of the type of models Bitesnich is attracted to photographing.

The models, both male and female, are oiled, lit, composed and sharply focused to emphasise their sculptural perfection - though, it could be argued, On Form by Andreas H. Bitesnich published by teNeues Publishing (UK) Ltd. ISBN-10: 382384556X at the expense of their character. The publishers state that it was Bitesnich's intention to focus on the 'contours and surfaces of the human body' so that it is 'transformed into a timeless work of art.' The images of Lisa G take this to the next level as her oiled body and blank expression makes her appear as if sculpted from latex not flesh.

The book dispenses with the usual 'introduction' so typical with art/photography monographs and instead reprints comments, in several languages, on the work of Bitesnich taken from articles from magazines such as 'Black and White' and 'Photo.'

On Form by Andreas H. Bitesnich published by teNeues Publishing (UK) Ltd. ISBN-10: 382384556X This is a large format, hard covered, coffee table book and its 176 pages are beautifully printed to an exceptionally high standard that does full justice to the photographs contained within. If you are a fan of the work of Bitesnich you will not be disappointed in having 'On Form' as part of your collection.

 

Review by Christopher John Ball.

**** Rating


Fetish Photo Anthology Volume 5

Fetish Photo Anthology Volume 5This latest edition of the soon to be published Fetish Photo Anthology 5 features the work of dozens of photographers, drawn from an international pool, who work within the fetish genre and it is pleasing to find that this list includes Association members Hector Heathwood, China Hamilton and Robert Babylon. The Association has seen a preview copy of the publication and it is this that is being reviewed here. There is always a danger in a collection devoted to one genre that the experience may become repetitive for the viewer. Fetish Photo Anthology 5 avoids this because, unlike so many 'collections' one finds on the bookstore shelves these days, Fetish Photo Anthology 5 has clearly been put together with great care by an editor who understands and loves the 'genre'. In this case - Jürgen Boedt of Secret Magazine.

Images are placed together with thought for what has proceeded and the book flows gently, seductively, intelligently and with humour. Within its 350 pages each 'chapter' is dedicated to one artist with the majority of images being displayed one per page on a black background. This gives the work room to breathe. There is a brief biography/artists statement and, where appropriate, artist's contact details.

Fetish Photo Anthology 5 is published in an A4 'coffee table' style and the eclectic range of artists, styles and fetishes within its pages ensures that there is something for everyone.

Review by Christopher John Ball

*** Rating

More details at http://www.secretmag.com/


The Fourth Body by Roy Stuart. Published by Taschen ISBN-10: 3822825573

The Fourth Body by Roy Stuart. Published by Taschen ISBN-10: 3822825573 Following on from the success of his previous collections, "Roy Stuart", "Roy Stuart: Vol 2" and Roy Stuart: Vol 3", the 'The Fourth Body' arrives, from publishers Taschen, for our perusal. Stuart is an American photographer, who lives and works in Paris, and those familiar with his previous books will know what to expect - stylised erotic imagery featuring natural, unshaven models (body hair is a given in Stuart's work) in photographs that appear as if from scenes from a film or whose subjects have been caught 'in flagrante delicto' and knowing references to the 'vocabulary' of pornography and glamour photography.

'The Fourth Body' takes this cinematic approach to the final stage as many of the images are indeed stills from a film or shot alongside the making of a film. Stuart has recently moved into film making and some of the images and text are from his film 'The Lost Door'. As with his previous collections - Stuart again uses luxury hotels/apartments and the street of Paris as locations for his photographs.

The Fourth Body by Roy Stuart. Published by Taschen ISBN-10: 3822825573 'The Fourth Body' opens with an introduction by Dian Hanson - printed in four languages - where she explains that the books title purportedly derives from the belief that human beings develop as if they have four bodies within themselves - like Russian dolls - each body having its own consciousness with the fourth and final body governing all. There then follows a lengthy interview with Stuart undertaken by Hanson. The introduction doesn't add much to the work and is somewhat pretentious but the 6 page interview is very interesting, enlightening and definitely worthy of inclusion.

Within the 280 pages of this coffee table book one finds a collection of colour photographs, displayed one per page, interspaced with poetry/text and all printed to a high standard between a hard cover.

In way of an added bonus this volume comes complete with a DVD. This contains an extended trailer for 'The Lost Door' and a lengthy behind the scenes film of the various photo-shoots that make up 'The Fourth Body.'

If you already own Stuart's earlier publications then you will want to have this on your shelves alongside them. If you are coming to his work for the first time then 'The Fourth Body' is a good place to start and the addition of the DVD is a great incentive.

Review by Christopher John Ball

***Rating

 


The Vienna Album by Albert Watson. Published by Schirmer/Mosel Verlag GmbH ISBN-10: 3829602154

The Vienna Album by Albert Watson. Published by Schirmer/Mosel Verlag GmbH ISBN-10: 3829602154 Born in the United Kingdom in 1942 - Albert Watson emigrated to the United States in the 1970's to set up studios in L. A. and New York. Despite being blind in one eye (or perhaps because of it) Watson developed a recognisable style within the world of fashion, portrait, fetish, still-life and landscape photography and has since gone on to influence many a contemporary photographer. His images have graced the covers of hundreds of magazines including Vogue, Rolling Stone and Time Magazine. So whilst you may not know his name - you will be familiar with many of his photographs.

Anyone who has treasured his previous books 'Mad Dog' and 'Cyclops' will be pleased to know that the images within Watson's latest book 'The Vienna Album', published by Schirmer/Mosel, again showcase that idiosyncratic style that has made him justly renowned.The Vienna Album by Albert Watson. Published by Schirmer/Mosel Verlag GmbH ISBN-10: 3829602154

The Vienna Album by Albert Watson. Published by Schirmer/Mosel Verlag GmbH ISBN-10: 3829602154 Within the 270 pages of this beautifully presented hardback coffee table book one finds 142 exquisitely printed colour, monochrome and duotoned photographs that do full justice to Watson's artistry. Subjects include nudes, still life, landscapes and more. The book also includes two short introductions by Ingrid Sischy and Joram Harel.

This is a beautiful looking book featuring the work of a true artist who plays by his own aesthetic rules. Simple words alone fail to do it justice and you cannot call yourself a true connoisseur of the photographic image if this book is not in your collection. It is a fetish object in its own right and is highly recommended.

Review by Christopher John Ball

**** Rating


Auguste Rodin, Erotic Drawings - Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd. Introduction: Anne-Marie Bonnet ISBN-10: 0500092583

Auguste Rodin, Erotic Drawings - Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd. Introduction: Anne-Marie Bonnet ISBN-10: 0500092583 Potential readers should be delighted with Bonnet’s text that accompanies the 107 colour plates. It celebrates the erotic work of Rodin without being emotive and is both well supported with appropriate contemporary evidence and primary source comments from the early twentieth century. Bonnet in her introduction discovers Rodin’s search for his object of divine life in motion and the vital energy of the naked female model. However, it is important to note when reading the contemporary comments used by Bonnet, that the distinction in English between ‘naked’ and ‘nude’, i.e. between the natural, undressed physical body and the artistically designed figure, does not exist in French or German.

Although known for his notoriety as a sculptor, his intimate drawings of women are not especially well known. Bonnet describes how the female models were asked to move around the studio, not to pose, but to remain natural. According to Gwen John these sessions would normally take place in the late afternoon when Rodin had finished his working day. He would work with several models at a time and we art told that he was especially fond of Italian girls. As he watched them dressing, undressing, playing together, Rodin would wait for them to be distracted before capturing the intimate glimpse of that fleeting moment. He called them his ‘one-minute drawings’. None of these instant observations ever lost their sensibility even though thousands of drawings were produced in this way.

Iconography to Rodin was of secondary importance as he was very much a Modern. However, Bonnet does comment that Rodin was primarily concerned with the sensations that were aroused during the creation of a drawing. He was also concerned with the arousal of the spectator while looking at the drawings. The implication Bonnet makes is that the drawings were for both self gratification of naked younger girls to satisfy the fantasies of an older man and an attempt to open the eyes and shock the spectator with an erotic other world. Bonnet also correctly informs us that these ‘one-minute ‘drawings were to capture the fleeting moment and turn the intense eroticism into a much longer lasting period of time.

Bonnet relives the flavour of the period in her introduction, displaying some credible research and insight into the unconventional erotic work of Rodin. Her connections to Paul Klee, Victor Hugo and Yves Klein only go to reinforce the discussion laid out in the text of this book. Although the book is a little expensive at £48, the plates are all high quality reproductions and fully described in the listing. They have been well selected and comprehensively represent the erotic drawings of this Master more known for his sculpture than his sketches. This is a book well worth finding the space to add to any art library.

Review by Peter Buddle

**** Rating

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Photographs by Patrick Demarchelier ISBN-10: 0821225146

Photographs by Patrick Demarchelier ISBN-10: 0821225146 'Photographs' opens with the obligatory introduction that monographs of this type seem to insist upon - in this instance it is penned by one Glenn O'Brien. I am of two minds as to the value of such texts as some can be rather pretentious, few, with notable exceptions, add anything to the images and I would rather let the photographs speak for themselves. O'Brien's introduction falls into the 'not adding anything' camp. Contained within the book's 144 pages are portraits of actors/celebrities - such as Meg Ryan, the late Princess Diana and Paul Newman - the odd elephant and, of interest here, a selection of nudes. All the images within 'Photographs' are monochrome.Photographs by Patrick Demarchelier ISBN-10: 0821225146

The nudes are competent, and initially eye catching, but more in the style of fashion photography rather than fine art erotica. They lack the depth that would encourage repeated viewing and, like most fashion photography, are somewhat disposable.

Photographs by Patrick Demarchelier ISBN-10: 0821225146 The book is published in a large format of 12.8 x 10.2 x 0.7 inches and this allows the work to breathe. 'Photographs' is printed to a decent standard with, for the most part, one image to a page. I have reviewed the paperback version.

Worth a quick look if one happens to see 'Photographs' in a bookstore but not an essential purchase.

Review by Christopher John Ball

** Rating

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Naked Steel by Günter Blum. ISBN-10: 1898998159

Naked Steel by Günter Blum. ISBN-10: 1898998159Within Naked Steel's 140 pages one finds 68 monochromatic images, printed as blue duo tones, and an introduction by Christopher Peachment. The photographs are displayed one per page - with the exception of 2 or 3 images that bleed across two pages in a somewhat ill-thought out manner. The monograph is split into 5 chapters. These chapters are entitled 'Naked Torsos', 'Amazons', ' Metropolis', 'Full Nudes' and 'Set Pieces'. With the exception of 'Metropolis', the titles seem somewhat tenuously linked to the images and serve little purpose but to pad out the volume.

Born in Germany in 1949 - Günter Blum studied graphic design and he initially worked as a freelance painter and illustrator for magazines, music labelsNaked Steel by Günter Blum. ISBN-10: 1898998159 and publishing houses. After a brief spell teaching he turned late to photography in 1989 but sadly died in 1997 after succumbing to a serious illness at the age of 48.

Naked Steel by Günter Blum. ISBN-10: 1898998159Using statuesque models who wouldn't be out of place in the work of Helmut Newton - many claim that Blum developed an unmistakable style but, whilst there is no denying that it is certainly technically proficient, it appears no different to that being produced by other artists working within the fetish genre such as Bob Carlos Clarke.

Apart from the Fritz Lang inspired 'Metropolis' series much of the work within this volume leaves this reviewer cold.

Review by Christopher John Ball

*** Rating

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Natural Beauty: Farber Nudes by Robert Farber. ISBN-10: 1858942713

Natural Beauty: Farber Nudes by Robert Farber. ISBN-10: 1858942713 'Natural Beauty' opens with a short introduction by Arnold Newman. This is followed by a three page artist statement by Robert Farber. 'Natural Beauty' features approximately eighty photographs - displayed on an attractive, heavy weight, warm-toned paper - over 207 pages. The book is published in an aesthetically pleasing soft cover and its dimensions of 12 x 10.6 inches should have afforded the publishers the opportunity for a perfect layout. Unfortunately this space is not used to the best advantage of the images and its potential is lost. Many of the photographs are much smaller than the space allows and several of the images extend across two pages - thus spoiling the visual flow of the composition.

Included within this selection of Farber's nude photographs are a handful of landscape and flower images and there is a good mix of black-and-white, sepia, and colour shots. Farber has a soft, classic, romantic style that can, in a volume of this size, appear somewhat repetitive but it is still a pleasant viewing experience.

Natural Beauty: Farber Nudes by Robert Farber. ISBN-10: 1858942713 'Natural Beauty' ends with a technical reference appendix. This gives the artist's production details next to a thumbnail of each image - including notes on the lighting, lenses and film speed. It is arguable if this is of any value. An attractive, inoffensive collection that, though it doesn't push any boundaries or achieve anything new, passes the time.

Review by Christopher John Ball

*** Rating

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“La Casa de Cita” compiled by Ava Vargas. ISBN 0-7043-2578-0

“La Casa de Cita” compiled by Ava Vargas. ISBN 0-7043-2578-0 This book is the result of one of those remarkable finds. In 1975 the antiquarian Raul Kamffer chanced upon a collection of stereoscopic glass plates in a“La Casa de Cita” compiled by Ava Vargas. ISBN 0-7043-2578-0 flea market in Mexico City. After much lengthy negotiation eventually the photographer Ava Vargas was able to obtain them and bring them back to London. Ava, who is a rather wonderful, enterprising person, took it upon himself to print up and get published this unique collection. The title of the book reflects the content. This is what a French style bordello was known as in Mexico. Ava, in his comprehensive and eloquently researched forward explains that these places were closer to a gentleman’s club than a brothel, though the pleasures of the flesh were discretely available. He dates the anonymous pictures at around 1900 but perhaps a little later. They show a whole range of mostly nude and semi nude women posed both within the elaborate portals of the club or clubs and also strangely situated in rural country scenes. Some pictures are so naive as to be bizarre with little or no attempt at composing a successful picture, others are surreal almost dream like. There are pictures that have a touch of sexuality but most are innocent.

Many of the plates were colour stained and hand tinted which was common for stereoscopic images designed for daylight viewing and this treatment has been faithfully“La Casa de Cita” compiled by Ava Vargas. ISBN 0-7043-2578-0 reproduced in the book. There is a close relationship with this production and the book on Bellocq’s photographs of prostitutes in New Orleans equally printed from plates by the great Lee Friedlander.

“La Casa de Cita” compiled by Ava Vargas. ISBN 0-7043-2578-0 Ava’s book has that collectable quality of printing, paper and binding. It is a strange collection of pictures; ladies of the night were always willing subjects for the photographer either freely or for a small payment at a time when ‘respectable women’ were seldom available sans their corsets and knickers. I don’t know what we can learn from looking at this work for it is the untalented pornography of its day. It is though one form of time machine so that we can have an insight into a world that has long since vanished, there is no ‘art’ nor talent but the women are so very real, something that is often lacking in more creative work.

Because it is such a special book, the work I’m sure of one photographer, now vanished from history, I must give it five stars

Review by China Hamilton.

***** Rating

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The Mammoth Book of Erotic Women edited by Maxim Jakubowski. ISBN-10: 1841199613

The Mammoth Book of Erotic Women edited by Maxim Jakubowski. ISBN-10: 1841199613 This is a follow-up volume to 'The Mammoth Book of Erotic Photography' and 'The Mammoth Book of Erotic Women' is published in the same format, page length and number of photographers contained. Therefore the same criticisms given in the review of 'The Mammoth Book of Erotic Photography', over this layout, apply here. Many of the photographers that are featured in 'The Mammoth Book of Erotic Photography' are again published in this volume but there are enough examples of the work of new artists to make the collection worthwhile.

'The Mammoth Book of Erotic Women' contains far more colour images than were contained within its companion publication. Contributing photographers are drawn from an international arena including the UK, USA, Europe, Russia, Argentina, Japan, Australia and Canada. The publishers draw attention to the fact that this volume includes several self portraits by noted female photographers.The Mammoth Book of Erotic Women edited by Maxim Jakubowski. ISBN-10: 1841199613

The Mammoth Book of Erotic Women edited by Maxim Jakubowski. ISBN-10: 1841199613 In a collection of this size there are bound to be some repetition of style and a few clones but stand out photographers include Tami Amit, Pascal Baetens, René De Haan, Jaeda DeWalt, Aaron Hawks, Perry Gallagher, Chas Ray Krider, Emma Delves-Broughton, Paul Hernandez, Larry Utley, Juan Carlos Rivas, Kati Rudlova, Matt Schneider, Ivan Scrivener, Marco Tenaglia, René Whitfield and Gabrielle Rigon.

 

Review by Christopher John Ball

*** Rating

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Ame: Gilles Berquet. Edited by Jean-Pierre Faur. ISBN 2-909882-00-4

Ame: Gilles Berquet. Edited by Jean-Pierre Faur. ISBN 2-909882-00-4This world would be a much poorer place visually without Gilles Berquet. He is shall we say, ‘old school’, a classic experimental photographic artist likeAme: Gilles Berquet. Edited by Jean-Pierre Faur. ISBN 2-909882-00-4 myself. We did spend some time together at around the time of this book. My copy has an inscription to me from Giles and I have a treasured original print from the book on my wall. Learn one thing, Giles is the real thing. He is a BDSM Master, his subjects are his slave and his lovers. He used to make his own costumes and rubber clothing at a time when you couldn't buy such things off the peg. He works in his small Paris apartment and the walls are painted with wonderful trompe l’oeil that generate strange scenes; rather as Jan Saudek paints the walls of his basement to form backdrops.

Ame: Gilles Berquet. Edited by Jean-Pierre Faur. ISBN 2-909882-00-4Gilles has now a number of books published but this book is still the best. It was his first major book and it is a statement of elegance and fineAme: Gilles Berquet. Edited by Jean-Pierre Faur. ISBN 2-909882-00-4 publishing. As a book of photography it is to me like an exquisite meal on a warm night in Paris. The women are real, sexual, erotic. Each print is an example of his original darkroom skills. In the flesh, they are small and intimate and the book holds this quality perfectly. He has a particular gift with solarization which is used in many pictures. Some pictures might initially disturb but when they are considered calmly and thoughtfully as they should be, they become so very beautiful. His work is unique, it is stamped with his name and cannot be confused with any other. In these modern times when we are awash with competent erotic photography, his pictures offer a shrine of calm as they stand alone like old Masters in a dusty mansion.

Ame: Gilles Berquet. Edited by Jean-Pierre Faur. ISBN 2-909882-00-4I recommend that you search out a copy of this book in hardback and discover a slice of art that even now lies hidden from most peoples experience just as reclusive Gilles so privately makes his art.

Review by China Hamilton.

***** Rating

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Woman: Andreas H. Bitesnich. Publisher: teNeues Publishing (UK) Ltd. ISBN-10: 3832790322

Woman: Andreas H. Bitesnich. Publisher: teNeues Publishing (UK) Ltd. ISBN-10: 3832790322 'Woman' opens with an essay by Tobias G Natter entitled 'Tension is the main element'. Natter states that "Bitesnich chooses his women with care"Woman: Andreas H. Bitesnich. Publisher: teNeues Publishing (UK) Ltd. ISBN-10: 3832790322 and that "The photographer transforms any real deviations...into a perfect image, reducing individuality to a type". And it would indeed be fair to say that the women within Bitesnich's photographs are best described as being that of the classical, romantic ideal of perfect feminine beauty. Natter claims that the women within Bitesnich's photographs are depicted as being 'assertive'. But whose ideal of feminine beauty is being asserted within the images? Is it the artists or the models or a combination of both? Or could it be that neither party are making a conscious assertion and that the images are but a product of the collective simulacra? In truth these are questions that all artists whose work depicts the body, be it male or female, should address.

There is a sublime feel to each of the monochromatic images within this monograph and the quality of the printing does full justice to the subtle tones inherent within each image.

Woman: Andreas H. Bitesnich. Publisher: teNeues Publishing (UK) Ltd. ISBN-10: 3832790322 There are two versions of this book. The content of both are the same but one is a hardback version and the other a much smaller paperback version. I amWoman: Andreas H. Bitesnich. Publisher: teNeues Publishing (UK) Ltd. ISBN-10: 3832790322 reviewing the larger hardback publication - the increased size makes the viewing experience that much more enjoyable and is therefore the one I would recommend.

 

Hardcover: 128 pages

Review by Christopher John Ball

**** Rating

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Naked: Publisher: Feierabend Verlag, Ohg ISBN: 3899851609

Naked: Publisher: Feierabend Verlag, Ohg ISBN: 3899851609After a short introduction 'Naked' splits into two self explanatory sections - 'Females' and a smaller chapter 'Males'. Whilst there are several colour images within the collection the majority are in monochrome. 'Naked' is an A4 sized, hard-backed, coffee table book that is well presented, has a quality feel and the work of each of the 91 contributing photographers are printed to a high standard.

The book ends with a helpful 'Contact' section featuring the postal address, phone numbers, emails and website URL of each contributing photographer - the work of several Association members are on show within its 329 pages.Naked: Publisher: Feierabend Verlag, Ohg ISBN: 3899851609

Though in no way an essential purchase; this eclectic collection of images, drawn from an international pool of talented artists, has enough to keep the viewing experience fresh and everyone should find something to their taste.

 

 

Review by Christopher John Ball

***Rating

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Bilder Lust - Published by Edition Braus, 1991 , ISBN 3-925835-74-1

“Bilder Lust” published by Edition Braus, 1991 , ISBN 3-925835-74-1It is now extremely easy, via. the internet and book dealer searching to find almost any book, usually in good second-hand condition. Most specialist art books have very limited print runs and quickly disappear from the contemporary market place. So it is worth drawing attention to some of these timeless gems of publishing. I have chosen a landmark publication in photography. “Lustful Pictures” as the title roughly translates is largely a snapshot of the massive collection of historic photography of the dedicated private collector Uwe Scheid.

The soft cover, perfect bound edition I have has stood up to frequent attention and is still in good condition. The printing is suburb both colour and monochrome on quality paper. The format suits the many pictures that come from the classic photographic sizes, like 10 by 8 and 5 by 4.Bilder Lust - Published by Edition Braus, 1991 , ISBN 3-925835-74-1

Bilder Lust - Published by Edition Braus, 1991 , ISBN 3-925835-74-1The book runs chronologically and starts with hand tinted Stereo-Daguerreotypes from 1855, lovely bottoms and ugly faces. It quickly leaps into some real Victorian pornography then starts to fly with photographs that make you want to weep they are so beautiful, like pictures by Guglielmo Marconi 1870 and Reutlinger.

There are observational nude series from photographer Calavas and Muybridge. Of course the Italians like Pluschow and Galdi provide their unique erotic twists. Gems of printing and composition abound as we move into the 20th century. We have Steichen, Man Ray and Fehr, teaching us how to take pictures. The great lighting Master, Horst is there both early and late in his life. The brilliant Saudek and the less brilliant Newton capturing Raquel Welch and a big dog! The book finishes just before its publication date.Bilder Lust - Published by Edition Braus, 1991 , ISBN 3-925835-74-1

In one splendid collection we trip through the history of nude, fine art photography, before the PC, before the internet, before digital and before these cultural explosions eroded the value and the intrinsic purity of the photographic print.

Review by China Hamilton

***** Rating

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The Mammoth Book of Erotic Photography Edited by Maxim Jakubowski and Marilyn Jaye Lewis. ISBN-10: 1841193259

The Mammoth Book of Erotic Photography Edited by Maxim Jakubowski and Marilyn Jaye Lewis. ISBN-10: 1841193259 The work of approximately 80 photographers, drawn from the US, UK and Europe, are spread across this collection's four hundred and eighty pages. Each photographer is allocated 6 or 7 photographs and a page with a few paragraphs of introduction and a small thumbnail portrait. It is a very safe collection of images and there is a fair amount of run of the mill nudes, examples of bondage and cloned fetish imagery which does give the collection a repetitive feel.

But there are enough standout photographers to make the purchase worthwhile and these include Sarah Ainslie, RC Horsch, the late great Bob Carlos Clarke, Pascal Baetens, Aeric Meredith-Goujon, Gilles Berquet, the self portraits of Cat de Rham, Michelle Serchuk, Roy Stuart, Trevor Watson, Maurizio Maon, Wolfgang Eichler and our very own China Hamilton.The Mammoth Book of Erotic Photography Edited by Maxim Jakubowski and Marilyn Jaye Lewis. ISBN-10: 1841193259

The Mammoth Book of Erotic Photography Edited by Maxim Jakubowski and Marilyn Jaye Lewis. ISBN-10: 1841193259 The book is published in paperback and is 7.2 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches in size. This format doesn't really do the images justice and seems cramped. The binding doesn't allow for extended and comfortable viewing and it is this that gives the lower rating than might have been given.

 

Review by Christopher John Ball

*** Rating

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Erotic Websites - Publisher: Feierabend Verlag OHG. ISBN-10: 389985277X

Erotic Websites - Publisher: Feierabend Verlag OHG. ISBN-10: 389985277XPublished as part of Feierabend's 'Cube' collection, in the distinctive 5 inch square format, the 500 website's featured within its pages are a mixed bunch. Each website is given 2 pages. The URL of each website is clearly indicated allowing the reader to visit the site. Due to the nature of such a collection - many website's have been updated since publication. The book is split up into sections e.g. Art, Fetish, Cartoon, Consult and found within said categories are photography, graphic, digital, painting etc.

Whilst it is good to see that several Associations members are featured within in its pages, including this reviewer, in truth it is a book that will date quickly. Given the fluidity of the web and its ever changing technologies - it could be argued that this volumes real value lies in the fact that it captures a snapshot - a record of website's and designs gone by.

Review by Christopher John Ball

**Rating

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Erotique Digitale by Roderick MacDonald & Minnie Cook. Published by Ilex. ISBN-10: 1904705561

Erotique Digitale by Roderick MacDonald & Minnie Cook. Published by Ilex. ISBN-10: 1904705561 The authors claim that "This book is an inspirational guide to the world of erotic digital photography, not another 'how-to' manual'' and this reviewer has toErotique Digitale by Roderick MacDonald & Minnie Cook. Published by Ilex. ISBN-10: 1904705561 agree. The publication has a layout, style and tactile quality that draws and seduces the reader in. The first short section of the book seeks to "familiarize you with some of the methods used by the artists" featured within its pages. These are illustrated with images made by MacDonald and are, like those within Digital Nude Photography - Step by Step, uninspiring. As with all books from ILEX - the text is clear and the software techniques are very easy to follow.

 

Erotique Digitale by Roderick MacDonald & Minnie Cook. Published by Ilex. ISBN-10: 1904705561 Where this book scores highly is with the inclusion of the work of over 20 photographers who are of the highest quality and cover an eclectic range within the erotic genre. Each artist has a section devoted to their work with an easy to follow, in-depth investigation into his/her techniques.

Recommended for those who wish to approach the genre in a mature manner that stays well clear of the 'glamour' image. Go out and buy it.Erotique Digitale by Roderick MacDonald & Minnie Cook. Published by Ilex. ISBN-10: 1904705561

Review by Christopher John Ball

*** Rating

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Digital Nude Photography - Step by Step - by Roderick MacDonald. Published by Ilex. ISBN-10: 1904705103

Digital Nude Photography - Step by Step - by Roderick MacDonald. Published by Ilex. ISBN-10: 1904705103Coming from the same author as Erotique Digitale this is a more basic affair aimed, as the title suggests, at the beginner. MacDonald uses the book to successfully cover such topics as choosing a digital camera, finding models, camera techniques, image editing software and setting up your own basic studio. The text is clear and the software techniques are simple to follow. Though the author leans heavily towards Adobe products (including Elements) users of Paint Shop Pro etc will find it very easy to adapt the techniques/instructions to suit their own favourite editing package.

The photographs used as examples within the book are rather basic and uninspiring when compared to those within the pages of Erotique Digitale - but they are functional given the level the book is aimed at.

Digital Nude Photography - Step by Step - by Roderick MacDonald. Published by Ilex. ISBN-10: 1904705103I do take issue with MacDonald's suggestion that one asks the model for his/her permission before touching said model to move them into the required pose. Whilst I have no doubts that his motives are pure I would never advise a photographer to touch a model. There is rarely any need to do so as it is easy to direct him/her into the desired pose by a combination of verbal instruction, direction and the use of your own body as a template. Touching the nude model crosses a line that could cause misunderstanding and is best avoided. It is a question of respecting boundaries.

As with all the books coming from the ILEX publishing house Digital Nude Photography - Step by Step has a great tactile feel and is printed to a highDigital Nude Photography - Step by Step - by Roderick MacDonald. Published by Ilex. ISBN-10: 1904705103 standard.

Recommended for those approaching the genre for the first time but more experienced photographers may prefer a more inspirational publication.

Review by Christopher John Ball

** Rating

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