‘Naked Before the Camera’ at the Metropolitan Museum
A nude from the early 1930s by the Hungarian photographer Brassaï, who, along with Edward Weston, truncates the female body so radically that it resembles a kindof phallus or an undulant landscape. Photo: The Estate of Brassai
No one person gets credit for inventing photography. The honor tends to be spread among several individuals, mostly in France and Britain in the 1830s and ’40s, who were responsible for the innovations that set the medium in motion toward its many modern incarnations.
Even less does anyone get credit for realizing that the human body was a natural subject for this new invention, given that the body had been the most constant subject of art since the beginning of human time. Still, one can’t help but imagine the camera-body connection flashing like a kind of wildfire across scores of alert, mostly male minds — spurred by impulses variously artistic, scientific, erotic and mercenary — throughout the second half of the 19th century and beyond.
The progress of the naked body through photography is the subject of “Naked Before the Camera,” a resonant and illuminating if sometimes fraught exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Organized by Malcolm Daniel, curator in charge of the department of photography, with assistance from Mazie M. Harris, a departmental fellow, the show presents nearly 90 images drawn entirely from the Met’s holdings, which are once more confirmed to be extraordinary.
You can read the full article via NY Times here.
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