U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: new wetplate article online

Re: new wetplate article online

Joe, I found your article very impressive and your images even moreso. There's no way I'm ever going to do that -- I nearly killed myself yesterday with a tube of superglue, so I'm especially awed by your skill and courage with real danger.

HOWEVER, since, as noted, I do live dangerously, I'm moved to make an observation about your own observation: Which was a warning that your portfolio included "nudes." Now I myself have nothing against the human body -- everyone has one, not as varied as their faces perhaps, but still interesting. In fact, I learned as a 10-year old in Ethel Katz's Saturday class at the Art Students' League that often the bodies that are least conventionally beautiful make the most interesting art.

Though all the women you showed were conventionally beautiful, as well as just beautiful, and some had faces of great power and character. In fact the "nudeness" tended to distract from that power -- by seeming gratuitous. They didn't need it. (And you don't need it.) Of course the culture does see naked ladies more readily as "art" than just a portrait of a woman, but a man who has the courage to deal with cyanide and ether in one day should not let that cliche run him.

Perhaps you were making some point I missed. From here it looked like: "Every women is photographed nude; any man is totally dressed." Maybe there was something wrong with *his* body? Something weird or missing or extra? Otherwise it seems that not only do you, with your knowledge and gifts, stick to this cliche (so last century !) you make a point of it.

In this of course you are in a goodly company, though male nude photography is quite stylish now and I'd be interested to see your obvious expertise there. (Or perhaps some of your female models have some photogenic, or at least interesting, clothes?)

No need to comment on my comments -- tho my experience is that when I am called by a higher power to make this observation I am rarely thanked... C'est la vie of course, but I'm an educator at heart....

Meanwhile and again, congratulations on your expertise and may you perhaps one day take it into even more dangerous territory.


On Mon, 21 Jan 2008, Joseph Smigiel wrote:

I've written an article entitled "Getting Started in Wetplate Collodion Photography" that Ed Buffaloe has published on his unblinkingeye.com website. Have a look if interested. The URL is: