Edward Weston: The Form of the Nude Clown

Posted by William Davies King on Wednesday, April 8, 2015.

I have been absent for a while, not because of inactivity, but my website needed to be remodulated--something like that. I didn't realize these things needed new grease every 3000 miles or so.

Meanwhile, though, I have finished a few new bibliolages, only one of which I will disclose now. This one began with a small accumulation of books about clowns, especially the big-nosed circus variety that proliferated in the 20th c.

It took a long while, though, to find a home for them, but as soon as I stumbled on Amy Conger's Edward Weston: The Form of the Nude, I knewed I had a match. I believe it was at the Strand bookstore that I saw this particular study of Weston.

Conger, in her introduction, quotes Weston, who, on several occasions, declared he could photograph anything, implying no special significance to having a model in the raw.

The picture he took of a toilet, for example, surprised many, as that sort of object had not been addressed in fine art photography in 1925 when he set up his camera on his bathroom floor in Mexico City.

With a long exposure, he captured in "available light" the sensual contours of this modern, yet, in a way, primitive, object, and he called it, mysteriously "Excusado."

Meaning "excused," also "unnecessary," "reserved," "private." (There is a wonderful essay about the picture by Marco Bohr.)

"Place for clowning" is not in the list of possible translations, but I like to think I have staked out one corner of the word "excused."

Conger juxtaposes a lot of photographs other than nudes in order to stress Weston's fascination with texture, form, light.

But really the eye goes (inexcusably?) to those private parts, which W was way ahead of the curve in exposing.

In that white-wall way, she allows vast blank pages in this high-ceilinged book. That I could not allow once the clowns started leaking in.

I bought a second copy of Conger's Weston so that Edward's splayed subjects, cut to order, could talk back to the clowns.

And so, finally, The Form of the Nude Clown resolved--private, reserved, unnecessary, and excusado.

More images on The Creaky Shelf.

 

 

 

 

Comments

Nice work! I do like the

Nice work! I do like the clown majorette strutting in front of the toilet.

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