|Hidden Image: Photographs of the Male Nude in the 19th and 20th Centuries |
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From Library Journal
A chronologically arranged anthology of 142 photographs of the male nude with a skimpy, lackluster introduction. The emphasis is on men viewing men--about five percent of the images are by women--as Weiermair is most interested in "the history of man's (self) image . . . a history of repression and sublimation." There are odd phrasings and spellings (since when has F. Holland Day been known as "Fred" and Imogen Cunningham been spelt with a double "m"?) and no index, plate list, or plate numbers. This explicit book--with handsomely reproduced photographs entitled "Androgyny Breastfeeding a Fetus," "Le premier chamber d'amour"--will not survive in most open-shelved collections.
- Annette Melville, Research Group, Stanford, Cal.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Text: English, German (translation)
The Hidden Image is both a stunning anthology of the male nude and a revealing history of how male sexuality has been portrayed photographically from the earliest daguerreotype self portrait of Hippolyte Bayard to the formalized fantasies of Robert Mapplethorpe. The 142 photographs include many previously unpublished portraits from both public and private collections in Europe and the United States. They include works by the historical luminaries Edward Weston, May Ray, Imogene Cunningham, and Cecil Beaton and the modern innovators David Hockney, Judy Dater, Dino Pedriali, and Joel Peter Witkin. Because it is not limited to one photographer or even one genre of photography, The Hidden Image is a record of the changing iconography of the male nude and of the repression, the sublimation, and the taboos surrounding the depiction of the body. Some of the images, such as those by Weston and Cunningham, are romantic, misty shots of Adonis like figures lounging in painterly landscapes; others, like those of Eadweard Muybridge and +tienne Jules Marey, are multiframe studies of locomotion. Still others are formal poses that treat the male body in abstract sculptural terms. Some of the contemporary photographs depict erotic fantasies; others such as those of Joel Peter Witkin confront us head on with our deepest primal terrors. Peter Weiermair studied art history at the Universities of Innsbruck and Vienna, was curator of the Innsbruck Art Institute, and has been director of the German Photography Museum in Frankfurt since 1980. He has written widely on the history of photography, and has published monographs on Wilhelm von Gloeden, Robert Mapplethorpe, Peter Hujar, George Platt Lynes, and Herbert Tobias. He serves on the executive committee of the European Society for the History of Photography.