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The Amateur Erotic Voyeurism of Monsieur X

The intriguing Frenchman who has come to be known as Monsieur X captures a romantic ideal of the amateur photographer. Monsieur X spent a decade creating his private collection of erotic pictures for personal pleasure and for the pure love of the captured images. His motivations were obviously voyeuristic. His interests erotic. His subjects were among prostitutes at 75 Rue Jean Baptiste Pigalle.

The story of Monsieur X really begins in 1975 when an old man presented his archive of private images to a Paris book seller. At the end of one’s life there are choices – he might destroy such a body of erotic work; he might sell that body of work and increase his personal means; he might seek discovery as a photographer among photographers; or, he could sell the entire archive of his work on the provision that a name will be withheld to save family embarrassment.

The last choice, if you’re curious, was the one for Monsieur X – the work became public and his identity remained private.

The book seller contacted a collector named Alexandre Dupouy, owner of a shop named Tears of Eros, and the works have been attributed to this Monsieur X ever since. Dupouy has kept the secret, as promised.

Monsieur X made high quality pictures inside this brothel and around Paris from 1925-1935, according to Dupouy’s estimates. Each high quality photograph reveals the name of the girl(s) on the back. They are photographs of people familiar and unreserved around Monsieur X. And, because of this familiarity in the pictures, it’s obvious he spent a lot of time in their company.

The total purchase made by Alexandre Dupouy of this work by Monsieur X included thousands of 18x24cm prints, a hundred 6x13cm stereoscopic prints, and a couple of 10-minute rolls of film. The glass negatives were reputedly thrown into the Seine by Monsieur X to prevent reproduction. Dupouy also purchased notebooks that belonged to the women in these photographs.

A Huffington Post article has a few sentences from one such notebook entry:

Fanfan’s is more oblong and thin-lipped, its opening dark red, it wiggles just like an oister when you put your finger in. Then they splayed my thighs, calling me their poor little kitten. I was nice and wet, glistening through the curls, they went on together: “Don’t you cry, little pussy, he’ll be back.” Then Fanfan went down on me, that was really sweet of her.Huffington Post

What I personally find fascinating about this photographer goes beyond the exquisite voyeuristic photographs that exist as his legacy. I love the passion for the image over the need for a reputation or to make any personal historic mark. I appreciate his amateur intentions coexistent with a meticulous attention to detail that produced the highest quality work. I like the flush of excitement in the subjects’ faces. Often they are titillated. Participant and engaged with the creation along with Monsieur X. Beyond observational studies of life at 75 Rue Jean Baptiste Pigalle.

And that brings us to my real question about the life and work of the mysterious Monsieur X. Where are photographs before and after this erotic project in Paris? So, yes, I like the secrets of Monsieur X. Le mystère.

Book on Monsieur X by Alexandre Dupouy

Three women with bare bottoms by Monsieur X

Woman on a wooden chair by Monsieur X

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About the Author

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

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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