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Posts Tagged ‘photographs’

The Other Side of the Face

May 28, 2014 | by

Wagstrom-Thomas

When I consider the neck, the first things that spring to mind are guillotines, beheadings, executions. Which does seem a little strange, since we live in a country where executions do not take place, there are no guillotines, and beheading is thus an entirely marginal phenomenon in the culture. Nevertheless, if I think neck, I think, chop it off.

This may simply be because the neck leads a hidden existence in the shadow of the face, that it never assumes a place of privilege in our thoughts about ourselves, and only enters the stage in these most extreme situations which, though they no longer occur in our part of the world, still proliferate in our midst, given the numerous decapitations in fiction. But I think it runs deeper than that. The neck is a vulnerable and exposed part of the body, perhaps the most vulnerable and exposed, and our experience of this is fundamental, even without a sword hanging over us. In this sense, it is related to the fear of snakes or crocodiles, which may as well appear in people living on the Finnmarksvidda plateau as in Central Africa, or for that matter, the fear of heights, which can lie dormant in people who have never seen anything other than plains and sand dunes, lowlands and swamps, fields and meadows.

Fear is archaic, it is embedded in the body, in its purest form untouchable to thought, and it is there to keep us alive. There are other vulnerable parts of the body, the heart being perhaps the most obvious, but when I think of the heart, I don’t think of it being pierced by a javelin or a spear or a bullet; that would be absurd. No, the heart fills me with thoughts of life and force, and if vulnerability and fear are involved, it is no more than a mild concern that one day it will simply stop beating. This must be because the heart belongs to the front of the body, the front we turn to the world, and always keep in check, since we can see what lies ahead of us, we can see what is coming, and take our precautions. The heart feels safe. That the neck is in fact just as safe, since we live in a world where people no longer carry swords, makes no difference to the feeling of vulnerability, it is archaic and closely linked to the fact that the neck belongs to the reverse side of the body, it is always turned toward what we cannot see and cannot control. The fear of everything we cannot see converges on the neck, and if in earlier times it used to be associated with physical violence, the most pressing association now is its figurative sense, which lives on in the social realm, in expressions like being attacked from the rear, getting it in the neck, watch your back, having eyes in the back of your head, being spoken about behind your back. Read More »

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Last Chance, Poseurs! Win a Briefcase

March 8, 2013 | by

LorinMoody007

Here is the youngest resident of the Hotel Duncan taking a “sensitivity break” from his senior thesis, on the fin-de-siècle poet Trumbull Stickney, 1995: “But that I know these places are my own / I’d ask how came such wretchedness to cumber / The earth, and I to people it alone. // It rains across the country I remember.” —Lorin Stein

Remember! Whether you had a Romantic phase, a Beat fixation, an Aesthetic idyll, send us your picture of yourself at your most self-seriously bookish and you could win a Frank Clegg English Briefcase. Send your picture, along with a brief description of your influences of the time, to contests@theparisreview.org. All entries must be in by Monday, March 11. (Luckily for you, staff is ineligible; this is hard to top!)

 

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The Desert’s Daughters

November 28, 2011 | by

From 'Nevada Rose.' Photograph by Marc McAndrews.

Not long ago, I became obsessed with sex work. I spent hours poring over the autobiographies of peep-show workers. I grilled my friends who dabbled in fetish work about their jobs, and I spent more time that I’d like to admit in strip clubs and all-nude revues. The tantalizing intimacy of the performance was only part of the thrill; the real allure, the draw that sent me to club after club in San Francisco, Miami, New York, Amsterdam, and London, was the desire to understand what it is like to take off your clothes in front of strangers for money.

I got a revealing peek into this world on a recent Friday, at an event for Nevada Rose: Inside the American Brothel, a book about that illicit alternate reality. Marc McAndrews, a photographer from Reading, Pennsylvania, spent five years in the desert documenting the secret—albeit, legal—world of the American brothel. He visited more thirty brothels in Nevada, often spending a week or more at each establishment, including the infamous Moonlite Bunny Ranch featured in the HBO documentary Cathouse, as well as smaller brothels scattered throughout the region, sporting names like Angel’s Ladies and Sue’s Fantasy Club. Read More »

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Staff Picks: ‘Rules of Civility,’ Scott’s Photographs

October 21, 2011 | by

New restaurants hold no interest for me, and neither did restaurant reviews—until two years ago, when Sam Sifton took over at the Times. Who else would write, of an aged duck, “It looked like an abscess, frankly. It tasted like godhead”? He was the first thing I read every Wednesday. Now that he’s gone to the National desk, do I have to start reading the news? —Lorin Stein

I’ve been enjoying Amor Towles’s Depression-era Rules of Civility with delight; it’s a good read in every sense. —Sadie Stein

I’m excited to see this spectacle of a concert at the New Museum on Saturday. Pitchfork and its sister site, Altered Zones have invited a lineup of ten performers and five DJs to take over the museum lobby, auditorium, and sky deck after-hours alongside an installation by Nuit Blanche New York. —Artie Niederhoffer

I was curiously entranced and chilled by the newly discovered photographs of Scott’s expedition to the South Pole. They’re bleak, beautiful, and suffused with doom. Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn

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Portfolio: Miroslav Tichý

August 8, 2011 | by

Untitled, ca. 1950s–80s, black-and-white photograph with graphite, mounted.

“If you want to be famous,” photographer Miroslav Tichý once said, “you must do something more badly than anybody in the entire world.” Born in 1926 in Czechoslovakia, Tichý spent decades taking voyeuristic photographs of women bathing. His subjects are caught unawares, often through fences or peepholes, in an erotically isolated moment. The pictures are spotted, blurred, crooked, scratched, and underexposed—done, by any conventional standards, “badly.” These flaws of execution are surpassed only by the crudeness of Tichý’s cameras, which were made with materials such as shoeboxes, tin cans, toilet-paper rolls, sandpaper, and toothpaste.

Tichý the man was equally disheveled. A ragged town eccentric, he had been trained as a classical painter but quit the academy after the Communist takeover forced artists to focus on socialist subjects. He remained, however, a diligent practitioner of the arts. He took three rolls of film a day, printed each negative only once, and embellished the prints with homemade frames. The results amount to a clever commentary on the state; his disguised cameras and the atmosphere of surveillance in his work subtly allude to the surveillance of the society at large. But the furtive pictures are also beautiful. They recall the scratched bodies of Degas’s bathers; they presage the soft focus of Richter. Their imperfection imprints them with the personal. As Tichý himself said, “A mistake. That’s what makes the poetry.” Read More »

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