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Mid-Century Vernacular Nudes

Introduction by Mark Thompson

8.5" x 11" 52 pgs
Softcover perfect binding

© 2018 | Second Edition
ISBN 9781388737740 | $25

In the temporal cocoon preceding the avant-garde provocations of Robert Mapplethorpe, a clandestine visual chronicle unveils itself through the lens, capturing the essence of male nudity in a milieu that predates the seismic shifts in artistic expression. These enigmatic photographs, believed to encapsulate post-Second World War servicemen, transcend the confines of mere portraiture, offering a glimpse into an era where the nuances of their relationships — whether amorous entanglements, camaraderie amongst shipmates, or casual liaisons — remain forever veiled in the annals of time.

Each frame, a spectral testament to a bygone epoch, showcases a spectrum of poses that oscillate between the coquettish and the audaciously uninhibited. There exists a palpable innocence woven into the fabric of their demeanor — an innocence that stands in stark contrast to the stylized, meticulously sculpted postures of contemporary nude figures. In the absence of knowledge about the nature of their connections, whether lovers entwined, comrades at sea, or simply free spirits navigating the currents of their time, these ordinary men find themselves immortalized in humble settings.

The ethos of these images, devoid of ostensible artistic intent, manifests a striking departure from the meticulous choreography of today's naked poseurs. Shyness may not be the first adjective summoned by their unabashed display, yet a certain sweetness pervades their flagrant postures. These are not the premeditated compositions of artists striving for aesthetic perfection; instead, they resonate as candid captures of everyday men inhabiting unadorned environments.

Amidst the simplicity of their presentation lies a profound paradox — the absence of artistic pretense paradoxically renders them artful. In their unassuming ordinariness, these photographs silently challenge the contemporary conceptions of beauty, inviting contemplation on the evolving narratives of male nudity in the artistic realm. As the lens peers into the past, the viewer is beckoned to witness the resonance of authenticity and unfiltered humanity, frozen in the amber of a time where the act of posing nude was yet to be laden with the self-conscious artistry that characterizes our present gaze.

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