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Jock Sturges: Twenty-Five Years.

Photographs and commentary by Jock Sturges. Edited and preface by Paul Cava.
Bala Cynwyd, PA., 2004. 56 pp., 25 duotone illustrations, 9¾x11¾".

Since the appearance of Sturges' work in the public arena in the 1980s, he has been a focal point of an intense dialogue involving the differences between nudity and sexuality, the human figure, youth, and questions of appropriateness.

In Notes, boldly published by Aperture, an early champion of his work, Sturges sets out to "open the door wide enough to offer insight into my methods." In service to that ambition, he has gathered together Polaroids, finished prints, and copious notes on both the shoots and his preferred lifestyle-the naturist community. What is most striking and very worthwhile in this collection is the cumulative statement on his philosophy of life, in clear and concise language.

Early on in the book, amidst color Polaroids, he states, "Sadly, Americans are relentless in their tendency to conflate nudity with sexualtiy. If the logic of this equation actually worked, then naturist contexts such as the community where I work and live in Montalivet, France should be rife with deviant conduct.

But in fact just the opposite is true. It is an exceptionally sane, stable, and safe milieu. The families I know there have been coming back to Montalivet for as many as three generations." He goes on to describe a certain enjoyed freedom of being bereft of not just the physicality of clothing but also the status and concerns that accompany fashion. A provocative idea indeed. Complementing Notes, Twenty Five Years sets out to present classic images from the years 1978-2003. Sturges includes commentary next to each image, further opening that door to his methodology.

Jock Sturges: Twenty-Five Years
is a unique addition to the family of Jock Sturges publications. It is the first that presents an overview of his classic images made between the years 1978-2003 with personal commentary by the photographer opposite each reproduction. 
 

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