(mid 1970s) were mostly seated portraits of young
women exposing just a hint of panty. The effort was to express
in a single image the dynamic of show and see.
Here is the somewhat ponderous text introducing the final
set of 4x6 images written at the time of completion:
I am fascinated by the problem of boundaries. I love sex and
I am obsessed with making photographs. After looking at these
photographs you may want to rearrange the verbs in the preceding
sentence in any way that seems appropriate. I start with the
substantive problem. How does one live with sexual phantasies
that contradict one's progressive ideas about sexual relations?
Must intellect or desire be repressed, or must one live with
hypocrisy? Is it possible to exploit phantasies of desire
while moving toward a mutuality of sexual relations? How does
one make a whole out of inconsistent partial identities?
I move then to the formal problem. What is the artistic status
of photographs which offend, arouse, or both? Put another
way, is there a middle position between art and pornography
independent of the transformation of the latter into the former
worked by history? The formal problem has a second dimension.
Is it possible to move from low-brow to high-brow in the making
of pictures without a degeneration into pure formalism? I
have chosen as the vehicle for exploring these problems a
set of reciprocal phantasies which may be labeled the voyeur-exhibitionist
set; the desire to see/expose that which is generally hidden.
In these pictures, photographer and subject confront each
other in full recognition of their reciprocal desires. They
attempt to exploit or indulge these reciprocal phantasies
while retaining the whole person identities which transcend
particular desire. I have selected portraiture as the modality
for this exploration because it presents peculiar opportunity
for tension. Many ordinary people have sat for portraits and
many ordinary photographers have taken them. In these pictures
I explore the secret desires of the parties to this situation.
Only a few of the set were reprinted as 6x9s and appeared
in the 1980 show. The refuse items stayed in a box for many
years and often suffered for it. I have revived and imperfectly
restored a few of these for the digital archive and they are
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