U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Jay (was Re: oil printing

Jay (was Re: oil printing

On Sun, 28 Sep 2008, Christina Z. Anderson wrote:

Nevertheless, female trite nudes notwithstanding (editing Demachy's nudes out of a book on Demachy would be disingenuous)
I don't say they need removal -- tho some of the MOST interesting and provocative WERE NOT there... for instance one of my old photo magazines (maybe '30s Camera Craft, or something like that... when I stumble on them again, looking for something else, I'll reveal) has several little girls, or anyway prepubescent, by Demachy, mother-nekkid, and provocatively posed... one title I remember was "Innocence" !

It could have been an issue of photo rights, or maybe by the time of Jay's book they were taboo... but don't tell me Bill Jay has ALL of Demachy. I'd also bet, well I never be less than a million dollars, but for you I'd make an exception (500 thou?) that some of the plates in my French book of 1904 are absent...

, what is good about Jay's book
is the research on Demachy in one place and all of the reprints of the articles by Demachy so one doesn't have to go back and forth between Camera Work and other magazines to see exactly what Demachy said in the first place that has been quoted by others--e.g. the thickness of gum that he used which was said to be "twice as thick" as others. So Jay may be a jerk but the book is still good.
Oh phooey, Chris -- that's like saying Mussolini made the trains run on time.

I'll also make another point. I'm not sure it's that great to have ALL Demachy in one place (nor as I mention was this book all of Demachy). Demachy had many moods and ideas, and coming upon them in situ, so to speak, may be enuf. Or -- given your archival talents, you could probably do a better job, I'd bet.... but more about that sort of thing to follow.

However, what struck me was that Jay had a genius for getting adoration. A fan club, a claque of admirers seemed to adhere.... It's even possible that's what put his nose so out of joint at the SPE: the women in particular and the American SPE in general weren't so gaga.

Meanwhile & however, he wasn't a total creep... he apparently did a very beautiful -- what in yiddish would be a "mitzvah" (good deed !) in the case of E.O. Hoppe, whom he befriended in his last days in a nursing home, aged 94.

As I wrote at the end of my diatribe:

He found that "the man who had once been a household name in photography" on his agonized deathbed, "revealed an inner pain." He has never been made an honorary fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. It had become the obsession of an old man..." Jay says he turned off the tape recorder at that point, because Hope was weeping. Ultimately Jay succeeded, through Cecil Beaton, at getting the fellowship conferred shortly before Hoppe died, aged 95.

I wrote that (assuming the facts were as written) I forgave a lot for that -- but there was a lot to forgive.


Judy said:
Oh boy/girl did I hate that book... had it or saw it or read it in the
long ago, but still recall some of his truisms, not to mention all the naked ladies that Jay found in Demachy... Now, in fact, checking my review of Jay's book "Ockham's Razor" (in P-F #2), I find:

"I admit not having heard of Jay until 1989 when he failed to stop himself from distributing the message quoted next paragraph. Since then, I have failed to stop myself from observing his predilections. Jay's book, "Views on Nudes," would be better called "Views on 20-something Female Nudes," since that's what it is, with the exception of a very few blurred, small, side or rear views of men. His book on Demachy would be better called 'Demachy's Female Nudes with a Few Other Views Thrown In'.... However, his interest in women with their clothes on seems limited. His book, "The Photographers," has 88 bios, only two of which are for women, and they, it turns out, are not themselves photographers, but service providers helpful to Jay personally..."

The "next paragraph" I referred to quoted Jay on the subject of the Women's Caucus of the Society for Photographic Education, when in 1989 he distributed a paper at the SPE convention accusing them of "scurrilous feminist propaganda, vulgar remarks and savagery... [a bunch of] teeth clenching revolutionaries... a nasty little pimple on the face of photographic education [and not] real artists or real photographers." True, that wasn't a shining moment for SPE, but conditions for women in academia pre-women's caucus were blood curdling.

Sometimes, however, Jay was an equal-opportunity insulter... for instance, explaining why "So Few writers on Photography are worth Reading" (aside from himself of course), he says "photography does not tend to attract those with the most brilliant minds and criticism is primarily a mental activity. [That is,] most photographers are not mental heavyweights." And so forth. My own comment, after wondering where his ideas on photographers' mental weight came from (his students? his friends") was that "the photographers I know seem noticeably brighter than the run of other profssionals, as do even a few photograpy writers."

However, that's not what I meant to say, which is that my next-- or next after next -- e-mail will be a list of oil printing references... and FINALLY to mention that MANY photographers have in old age, or post-photography life, turned to sketching, drawing &/or painting.

For instance Cartier-Bresson and Lartigue are two who come immediately to mind. There have been many others, in fact I've been struck by how many photogs, including Demachy did just that...