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sunny innocents growing up and developing new family ties
am 12. Mai 2004
Before reading this review or this book, please be aware that it contains many consensual nude images of male and female children in family settings. This book would not be able to get an "R" rating if it were a motion picture. If such things are offensive, read no further.
Jock Sturges is creating a time-lapse view of a handful of familes. This book is the second in the series, following the superb work called The Last Day of Summer. In this book, most of those who posed for the photographs were asked to describe the experience. Here are a few quotes from what they said:
"We are not naked for the pictures, we are naked for the summer, and because we are alive."
"We are in the places we love, and Jock comes and joins us for a while."
"This I enjoy."
"In these pictures, we're Jock's people."
"Jock is the artist and we're his collaborators. Each year we get to help make art."
The images are done with a large format camera and reproduced in gelatin silver prints. The models often help set up the equipment and suggest scenes to shoot.
Mr. Sturges takes photographs each year, and publishes them. From these images, you can see the subtle changes in the person, how their relations grow with siblings, friends and parents, and the inner core of the person that is unchanging. His subjects are people who regularly practice naturism in Europe and the United States. So he is capturing them as they would normally be.
Taken outdoors usually, the images can acquire an almost lyrical quality. One image in this book deserves special mention. I think it is the best I have seen of Mr. Sturges's work. The image is of Alisa, Christina, Misty Dawn, and Teresa in Northern California in 1993. It shows the young women lolling on misty rocks just above the boiling ocean looking ever so much like self-absorbed versions of the mythical sirens, but with the ease and comfort of sunning sea lions. It is an extraordinary vision of natural joy.
Here are many of my favorites from this remarkable volume:
Unless otherwise noted, you should assume that these were shot in Montalivet, France. Francois 1992; Raphaelle 1993; Bettina 1993; Marine et Maia 1991; Raphaelle, Celine, Alysha et Danielle 1993; Marine 1993; Tamara 1993; Arianne et Sa Mere 1989; Francois et Adrian 1993; Danielle 1991; Danielle, Oud Heusden, The Netherlands 1992; Marine, Clermont-Ferrand, France 1989; Laurel, Northern California 1992; Brooke, Northern California 1992; Cecile 1993; Arianne 1991; Hanneke 1992; Mike and Chicken, Northern California 1993; Christina, Northern California 1993; Danielle, Oud Heusden, The Netherlands 1993; Laura et Lou 1992; Marie et Bettina 1992; Leaham and Layla, Southern Oregon 1981; Maia 1991; Maia et Marine 1993; Brooke, Northern California 1985; Jessie, Northern California 1985; Misty Dawn, Northern California 1991.
After you finish enjoying these tender images, I suggest that you give everyone in your family a camera and go on an annual photo shoot. Although you cannot hope to match Jock Sturges, these images will evoke many happy memories in years to come.
Let the sun shine through!