Art Shay – Simone de Beauvoir in Chicago (1952)
Shay, on how the image came into being:
“I knew someone in advertising who said she would be happy to open her
apartment to her,” Shay recalled. “I took her there. She was about 41,
still a very attractive lady. I was a ballsy 28- or 29-year-old. She
took a shower and left the bathroom door open. I always carried a Leica
(camera) around my neck. There she was at the mirror doing her hair. I
went click, click click. She turned around and said, ‘Oh, you naughty man.’”
As much as I’m thrilled that there’s an actual honest to goodness nude of de Beauvoir, I’m a little skived by the explanation of how it came about.
If you are going to take nudes of someone, you absolutely must have their consent before you click the shutter.
I know, I know–they’ll invariably be someone who says, well she left the door open and he was a photographer who had a Leica around his neck, she had to expect that might happen. LOUD BUZZER SOUND & a ‘nope.’
–But, but… if she’s really been upset, she could’ve just told Shay to never promise never to publish it or to demand he remove the film and give it to her. That she didn’t proves she’s fine with it.
Again, no. She probably was fine with it. But the point is in a situation like this, what would it have hurt for him to ask. She would’ve said sure and then been self-conscious for a bit and then gotten caught up in what she was doing again and the picture would’ve been much the same except it would’ve been consensual.