This is directed to the gentlemen , Brian and Eric- that were
conversing on Mortensen's
opinionated do's and dont's....
I just purchased his book on the problems of posing- and yes- he is
however his influence is classical art- painting , drawing and
sculpture and I think quite a lot of what he
presents is spot on...
I think the lesson from him is to show the Dont's- because if the
teacher never presents anything bad
he himself has generated- well then this falls to the reviewing of the
Now Mortensen was over-opinionated - and this is fine for his work- I
do agree with the general spirit that rules were meant to be broken-
and following one master is simply blind obedience.
and why not do all of his don'ts to present a campy swarmy view of the
I remember seeing Bob Guccione's mid 1970s images of close ups of
female "naughty bits" shot though some sort of vaseline
and cheesecloth. I found these neither erotic nor clear enough to be
anatomically instructive for a college boy.
you can add those images to the Don't list...
AnyWAY - the real reason I am posting is that Willard Van Dyke came to
the New Orleans Museum of Art a few months before he died.
This was back in the early 1980s to my remembrance.
You may know he was the last surviving member of Group ƒ64.
I knew he had had a long running feud with Mortensen, and asked if
time had softened his opinion of Mortensens work.
( Mortensen died in 1965)
Well - Mr. Van Dyke turned red and erupted into a minute long tirade
against Mortensen and pictorialism.
I think he used words such as abominations and schlock....
Anyway- many of the members afterwards congratulated me on having such
knowledge of the history of photography
- and one scolded me for interrupting his nap by agitating the
Anyway- several months later Mr. VanDyke was gone...had I loosened a
with my inflammatory question?
Sincerely, Richard Vallon Jr. from New Orleans