U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Mortensen

Re: Mortensen

Oh what a wonderful story, Richard!!! When someone reacts so strongly to another, what do you think the fear about Mortensen was? I wonder if he was just so obnoxious, or if they thought schlocky nudes would take over the world or whatnot...

BTW, talking of female body parts, I was able to see Adam Fuss's Vulva series (I don't know if that is what he called them) that if I remember correctly were daguerreotypes?? Someone can help me out here??? Anyway they were at the Corcoran Art Gallery in D.C. in 2005. Talk about detail...very dark and very sharp. But I cannot seem to find them on the web and I wonder what kind of criticism he received. I know Robert Hirsch was there, viewing them at the same time....so he might remember tho he is not on the list.


Christina Z. Anderson
----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard Vallon Jr." <rvallon@cox.net>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Sunday, November 09, 2008 8:07 AM
Subject: RE: Mortensen

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
very opinionated-
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
students work.

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

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