Christine Godden – [↑] Light Touch #009 (197X); [←] Light Touch #008 (1970); [→] Light Touch #019 (197X); [↓] Light Touch #016 (1970)
In an interview with LENS Escuela de Artes Visuales in Madrid, Mark Steinmetz comments on the difference between B&W and color photography by saying something to the effect of if you’re shooting B&W you want to be on the blindingly bright side of the street; whereas if you’re shooting color you want to walk to the other side of the street and work in the shade.
Therefore–given the time when these images were created and given their ostensible fixation with capturing the interaction between bodies and light–it’s understandable that these were shot B&W.
Given the premise, these images were not necessarily destined for greatness. After all, ‘photography’ literally means ‘drawing with light’. And no one needs to look further than the parade of images on Instagram that serve no other purpose than to document the fall or angle of a certain precocious shaft of light.
To my mind what makes these images exquisite is their intimacy. However, instead of making that observation and then leaving it at that as I normally do–usually because I struggle so much with the unruly beast that is language and don’t know how to convey my thoughts clearly; I think it’s worthwhile to dig a bit deeper here.
Godden’s eye is unusually disciplined. The one thing that I believe holds true across her body of work is that through it’s revealings, it actually manages to conceal far more than it presents–the hiked up skirt hem, one erect nipple/the other concealed, a shift lifted to reveal allow a bare tummy to luxuriate in light and a nude body stretched out beside a pool.
Nothing is explicit; yet the photos are organized to point–seemingly incidentally–towards what remains unseen.
All of the above images are what I would term close-ups. I typically don’t like the close-up because I feel it tends to highlight a part of the whole instead of the part within the context of a whole. These images have a context–albeit a purposefully limited one.
What’s interesting is these images remind me quite a lot of glossy ads for luxury items from the late 80s/early 90s that I see beginning to bleed in around the edges in emerging ads that go over the top to commodify sexuality by aggressively conflating it with whaat ever the fuck is being sold–the pairing of several discrete elements that read as surreal juxtapositions.
In the case of such ads, it’s the product that unifies the disparate elements. But with Godden’s work, these carefully constructed images allow for the viewer to experience a sort of mirrored relationship between the photographer and her subjects. There’s very much something of seeing the world through someone elses eyes.