Source unknown – Title unknown (1959?)

I’m intrigued by this photograph. (So much so, in fact, that I’ve spent several hours I don’t really have right now trying to learn something about it’s provenance; sadly, there’s nothing.)

The curious thing is that a lot of the blogs that have posted this generally have a lot of overlap with my own personal interests. And I have some–if we’re being polite–offbeat interests.

As far as just looking at the photo as it’s presented, I feel a lot of the things about controlling context with regards to Valerie Chiang’s All info is in the image applies equally here–even if it does work to a different end, i.e. in this case the control of context isn’t in service of clarifying anything, it’s intended to emphasize a certain enigma.

Like what I do know is that this is most likely a photo made with a 50mm lens–based on the angle of view–operated at a narrow aperture. (The focus between her chin as it’s tilted back and the ridge line in the distance suggests a wide depth of field & imposes on her a sense of being a part of the landscape a la Duchamp’s Étant donnés.)

It’s either a page from a photo album or is meant to resemble one. The 9659 is unusual. It could be a date. Sept. 6, 1959 in the US or 9 June 1959 in Europe–and to me the landscape looks straight out of central casting for Alpine Europe.

Beyond that I haven’t the foggiest. However, I do think what I find some mesmerizing about it is the contradictions it contains. There’s a level of very personal and therefore privileged/private intimacy occurring–yet the viewer is asked by the photo to bear witness. There’s the way that there is a sense that the grassy slope and trees are in the distance but with her head back like that, the distance is compressed substantially.

Also, compositionally this is absolutely the opposite of #skinnyframe bullshit–it’s intended to be read up and down and is arranged in such a fashion as to facilitated the parsing of such a reading. consider how it’s divided into five distinct horizontal bands: the sky, the trees, the area between the crest of the hill and her shoulders, between his middle finger and pinky finger with his pinching of her nipple drawing attention to both nipples and the area below watch band wrapped around the wrist of the intruding hand.

It’s a really compelling construction. And although I can’t find fuck all out about this I would very much love to know more if anyone has any pointers.

andre-jblue veins and goosebumps (2010)

Generally, I am against frame line decapitation; however, my interest in synesthesia– esp. visual conveyance of the tactile–overrides that objection here.

This is a rare instance where the tendency for digital to render textures more-or-less plastic-like contributes to the image by blurring the boundaries between beaded water droplets and goosebumps. In my opinion, the ambiguity serves to emphasize the skin.


Libby EdwardsCollab (2012)

Not only a weird angle, this is rather unlike the rest of Edwards’ images.

The strobe bleaches right up to the very verge of burning away texture and color from flesh–waterline tracings still show a membranous sheen against skin.

Water fragments and refracts, a hissing sizzle bouncing between and dotting bodies; arcing strings stretching and shivering–quick silver in a vacuum tube.

And oh just look at all the secrets two hands hide in their showing.

  1. Right edge of frame: a thirty party watching, approaching; casting a shadow figure bent beneath the spray.  (The Observer Effect) EDIT: Alveoli Photography sees this differently. The ‘third’ hand is actually his left hand reaching over to trigger a short cable release. This makes more sense than my interpretation since the third person would have to be roughly 6’7" to account for the positioning i had in mind.)
  2. & her hand’s Apollian claiming a quote from the greatest sculptor, Bernini.

This is sexy a fuuuck.


nicely in b/w

As per usual, I don’t like images that cut off the subjects head to preserve anonymity. There are literally a million more thoughtful ways to do it.

I am, however, enamored with the texture not just of her shirt but the way the light not only adds dimensionality, it gives a papery luster to her skin.

Texture isn’t only an aesthetic interest. I am highly sensitive to tactile stimulation. For example: on a good day so much as the rough seam accidentally sliding over my nipple as it is above would turn me on.

Then there are days–like today–where the thought of it is nearly enough to make me come like gangbusters.

These are the days wherein I would almost prefer to be no more than this goddamn alone.



Olivier mixes vertical and horizontal framing with impunity; plays fast and loose with framing and use color in such a predictable manner that it I can only think to call it ‘awkward’.

That said, her instincts are on point, devastatingly so. Her images could read as sloppy except for the fact that the undisciplined framing fosters a studied immediacy; the lack of nuance in color management serves as a blunt tool to not only guide the eye through the images while also emphasizing the conceptual underpinnings. It’s as subtle as a train wreck & charmingly radical in its utter lack of affected ambiguity.

The contradictions which cancel each other out–whether happy accidents or clumsy technical experiments–make the work relevant. What makes it important is the way that at twenty, Olivier is already dissembling notions pertaining to gender and sexuality and repackaging them as delicate and delectable parfaits packed with razor edged broken glass.

Beautiful, chilling and crucial.

I have tried to source this but neither Google Image search or TinEye are coming up with anything conclusive.

This uncertainty exacerbates my polar reactions to it. Most of the time, the muddiness is reminiscent of Duane Michals early-ish work, particularlly a moment of perfection.

But there are also times–like writing this–where the position way his arms are positioned and his motion blurred face feel more like a horror film, a sort of  E. Elias Merhige’s Begotten-esque haunted house where the ghost seduces then strangles the amorous.

I don’t know what to make of it. Not in an I don’t give fuck one about it, though. It’s so true what is said about the distance between what we love and hate is much less than the disparity separating love from apathy.

There something else rattling around in my head about the body as a house haunted by a soul, but language and I are having another one of our frequent sullen tiffs. Besides, any time it starts to feel like the only thing I have ever known, I start to forget how the stories go.


May5†h♥new/sense…inside(Vadim Stein)★




/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;

Stein’s images suffer from critical wounds, shot through and through as they are with magic bullets of commercial viability.

In that manner his work is of a kind with Edward Weston—a photographer who epitomized the craft of photography but whose work leaves me cold.

Stein almost certainly holds Weston as a formative influence. And while I do not think he’s achieved a similar level of mastery yet—despite my ambivalence toward his content, Weston’s black and white prints are un-fucking-paralleled—when he pushes the limits of his over-produced, studio lighting comfort zone, Stein makes riveting images.

What grabs me here is the shadowplay and its emphasis of the tactile—sand, granular and smooth, against fluid human skin. (The ability of images to invoke something akin to sight-for-touch synesthesia is a long-running personal preoccupation.)

Also, it makes me think it’s high time I re-watched Hiroshi Teshigahara’s The Woman in the Dunes.