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Voyeur (Book Review)

Voyeur

Megan is a great fan of erotic photography so it’s interesting to see her finds in second hand book stores. Last week she found a copy of Voyeur edited by Charles and Steven Diamond in perfect condition for $20 and it’s a gem. A beautiful 9.5 x 9.3 inch black hardcover with quality black paper stock throughout and slipped inside a cardboard sleeve. The photographers inside roll off my tongue with fascination – Erwitt, Steichen, Winogrand, Steiglitz, Degas, Cartier-Bresson, Hockney, Hurn, Araki, Weegee, Davidson, Atget. Over 100 voyeuristic images from some of the best photographers of the 20th Century.

This book was published in 1999 with an essay by Luc Sante as an afterword. Sante offers a succinct look at the scopophiliac, the voyeur, the lover of photographic erotica. He discusses the pleasure of looking. The nuance of context. The passage of erotic voyeurism through the birth and early years of photography onto the present. In Sante’s words, photography gave us the non fiction of erotica, as opposed to the drawings and paintings filtered through an artist’s mind. The camera allowed us to see real flesh and real people in real settings. And we, as real people, enjoy the taste of the forbidden as presented in these pictures.

So, yes, I’m a scopophiliac like the rest of you. I love to look at voyeuristic photographs and to make erotic pictures when the opportunity arises. There is something excitingly alive about being a little naughty. And something candid about being a tad perverse. This genre permits the photographer and the viewer to explore the line between sex and sexuality; pictures and pornography; thought and contradictory action. Sometimes photographic voyeurism is made with explicit pictures, or the vaguest hint at a possibility in the imagination of the viewer. Sometimes the subject knows; other times they are unaware their secret self is being shared among strangers.

In my own experience as a photographer a lot of voyeurism exists in my work. The observer. The lover. A nude; a vagina; a gesture between lovers in a crowded market. A stolen kiss. The candid scene from a life that is unaware it’s being photographed. These are the things that I find repeat themselves more than any… voyeurism of everyday life.

Voyeur is a beautifully made book crafted together with work from photographic masters of the last Century. It is both thought provoking and inspirational. And just a little sexy.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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