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The sensual curve of the hip. The disturbing pucker of a scar. The magnetic pull of the lashed eye. In this book, William A. Ewing presents an archive of over 360 photographic images of the body - beautiful, bizarre, sometimes brutally revealing - reflecting many years research and selection in museums, libraries and private collections throughout North America, Europe and Japan. Photography has intensified our obsessive attraction to images of the body for at least 150 years. This book reveals a long tradition of photographing the nude, looking at the many different ways it has been depicted in the photographer's art: the full figure nude; the body in fragments; the body as an object of sexual desire and in the realm of dream, fantasy and obsession. Also included are bodies scrutinised by medical and anatomical photographers, and those celebrated by photographers of sport, dance and fashion. Most of the greatest names in photography are represented here: Nadar, Muybridge and Roger Fenton from the earliest days of the medium; later Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham and Man Ray; and from our own time John Coplans, Robert Mapplethorpe, Barbara Kruger, Pierre Radisic and many others. Today, in the age of the supermodel and the super-athlete, consciousness of both the private and the public body has never been greater. From 19th-century erotica to the sexual politics of the 1990s, this book in a special slipcased edition provides a rich archive of bodily forms, male and female, and a record of the camera's infatuation with the human figure. William A. Ewing is a renowned authority in the field of photography. His many books include "The Fugitive Gesture" (1987), "Flora Photographica: Masterpieces of Flower Photography" (1991) and "Breaking Bounds: The Dance Photography of Lois Greenfield" (1992) - all published by Thames and Hudson.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780500277812
ISBN-10: 0500277818
Format: Paperback
(210mm x 148mm x 39mm)
Pages: 432
Imprint: Thames & Hudson Ltd
Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
Publish Date: 26-Sep-1994
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » Bodies have long been scrutinized by medical and anatomical photographers; celebrated by photographers of sport, dance and fashion; and depicted in phantasmagoric terms in the realms of dream imagery and the imagination. Chronicling our obsession with images of the human body, this collection of over 365 photographs extends from 19th-century erotica to the sexual politics of the 1990s and features outstanding work from some of the world's most talented photographers. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Through thoughtful essays, Ewing (Breaking Bounds, not reviewed) transforms a fantastic collection of photographs into a history of photography itself. With careful arrangement and stylish writing free of art-critic blather, Ewing has rendered accessible an almost intimidatingly wide range of works. The introduction covers attitudes toward photographed nudity (and therefore toward sexuality), beginning with a photograph of two topless Zulu women published in a British magazine circa 1879. Setting a pattern for the remainder of the book, Ewing discusses how these photographs reproduced their subjects and simultaneously served as a mirror for contemporary British culture. Chapters carry vague titles like "Probes" and "Metamorphosis," which are pithily defined (in these cases as "the realm of scientific exploration" and "the body transformed," respectively). Each section starts with a mini-essay expounding a basic principle and tying together the photos. For example, "Flesh" links Regina DeLuise's nude woman gripping the heavy, knotted rope of a tire swing and Robert Davies's closeup of a navel. "Eros" ponders the personal nature of sexuality, and an 1865 photograph of one woman inserting an umbrella in a second, tuba-playing model's behind is grouped with some squeaky-clean, pin-up-style shots from the 1950s. The shocking chapter entitled "Estrangement" contains a range of striking, often disturbing images, including a servant crucified for killing his boss's son and a grotesquely obese sideshow man with a relatively tiny towel placed over his behind, as well as a series showing "the Hilton Siamese Twins of Texas" cheerfully swimming, playing tennis, dancing, and flirting in tandem. Some ground is covered twice, and there is an occasional oversight (the essay on "Estrangement" brings up the 19th-century popularity of photographs of corpses of loved ones, but no examples are offered). Overall, however, the result is engrossing and the balance of text and photos just right. Stunning, clever, and very provoking. (Kirkus Reviews)


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