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Naked Women: The Female Nude In Photography From 1850 To The Present Day [Paperback]

Philip Braham
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Oct. 1 2001
Naked Women explores the subject of the female nude in photography in all its beauty and variety, with selections from ninety of the world's most renowned photographers, dating from 1850 to the present day. The reader is taken through a wide range of artistic styles from pictorialism to realism, from surrealism to postmodernism; viewing and understanding the historic images of Edward Muybridge and Bill Brandt; the established sexiness of Herb Ritts; and the quirkiness of emerging stars of the contemporary scene such as Angel Baccassino. While maintaining their individual style and interpretation of the female form, each photographer has been chosen for the impact they have made on the genre and on photography as an art, as well as for the beauty of their images, and the technical prowess with which they are achieved. Printed four-color throughout, the photographs are glorious and irresistibly eye-catching. Includes work from well-known photographers and artists such as Araki, Eve Arnold, Eugene Atget, Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Brassai, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Larry Clarke, Lucien Clergue Peter Lindbergh, Irving Penn, Steven Meisel, Herb Ritts, Jan Saudek, Mario Testino, and Dorothy Wilding.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Diverse and wide-ranging nudes June 11 2002
...Despite having fewer big names, the book does not fall short with regard to the incredible breadth and variety of nude female subjects, photographic styles, and historical periods (1850 to present day). The female subjects are young and old, beautiful and grotesque, fat and skinny, white, black, and Asian. And there's at least one celebrity (Marilyn Monroe). The images can be called realistic or surreal, pictorialistic or artistic, hard-core or soft-core, experimental or intentional, clever or lucky, and serious or playful. I have to give Mr. Braham a lot of credit for bringing all this together in one book.
The following are some of my favorite and not-so-favorite nudes in the book:
Eve Arnold was the first female photographer to work for Magnum, a prominent photo agency. She was a celebrity photographer and is best known for her photos of Marilyn Monroe. Her color photo shows Marilyn sitting on a chair with her nude back facing the camera and a profile of her face.
Nick Clements' "Shaved Woman" is perhaps the book's most eye-popping (or obscene) picture. It is a stark and graphic close-up of a standing woman's clean-shaven genitals in full color.
Larry Fink shows a chest shot of a woman squeezing her left breast to spew out a few streams of breast milk into the air. Some of it apparently has been collected in a small jar which she holds in her hand.
David M. Glover's black-and-white photo titled "Joy" is of a huge, mountainous, nude woman looking up with joy with both arms reaching up toward the sky.
Nadav Kander's "Irma" is a blunt and too-real frontal portrait of an elderly, nude woman. Her breasts are drooping, and her face is deeply wrinkled along with the rest of her body. It's a hair-raising picture which shows how the human body can age.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The naked truth about Naked Women! Jan. 17 2002
By Bill W. Dalton - Published on Amazon.com
To start with, you can disregard the editorial review above. It's so
inaccurate it might be talking about another book altogether!
Many of the photographers it mentions -- Angel Baccassino,
Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Larry
Clarke, Peter Lindbergh, Irving Penn, Steven Meisel, Herb Ritts,
and Mario Testino -- are NOT represented in this book! But the
others mentioned are here. And many more, too. Most of them
are unfamiliar to me, but I haven't followed the photographic
scene in a long time, so it's no reflection on then that I've never
heard of them. Some of the great ones I do remember are here,
such as Edward Weston, Edward Steichen, Eadweard Muybridge,
Alfred Stieglitz, Man Ray, Bill Brandt, Eugene Atget, Imogen
Cunningham, and Brassai.
Having tried my hand at photographing the female nude some
years back, I know it's not as easy as one might think to get good,
professional, artistic results. One needs more than a naked woman
and a camera! One needs some inspiration, intuition, creativity,
and rapport with the subject or the most expensive equipment and
the most shapely woman won't achieve much but vapid,
amateurish, or lewd photos. My own limited attempt at the genre
was interesting and enjoyable, but I knew I had no talent for it. So
I can respect even more the really great photographers who have
mastered this difficult art form.
The photographs here range from 19th century pictorialism to 21st
century modern abstract. Some of them are really striking, such as
Paul Murphy's topless portrait of a 70 year old woman posing like
a glamour girl, her drawn and weathered face and arms in stark
contrast to her remarkably young-looking smooth breasts! And
Jan Zwart's study of two women, a Moslem and a Westerner, with
the Moslem woman covered from head to toe in a Burka with only
her eyes showing, and the Western woman completely naked
except that her eyes are covered! An interesting, ironic comment
on two distinctly different cultures. Jemima Stehli's self-portrait
with her nude model is also good, but it would have had more
impact if she, too, had been nude. Lewis Morley's demure nude
portrait of Christine Keeler, the woman who brought down the
British government in 1963 with the Profumo scandal, belies the
tumult she once caused. She looks like an innocent school-girl
here. And John Knill's photo titled simply "Bottom" is just that --
a large image of a very impressive, curvaceous female bottom.
This book is for adults only. Some of the images are quite
graphic. Some are just ugly and others grotesque. A few are so
abstract that the subject, a nude, is unrecognizable as such. So it
pretty much covers the whole spectrum of nude photography as an
art form. I recommend it to all fans of the female form in
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was pleased with this purchase Feb. 26 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really like the format of this book - one page with a large photo, the opposite page with the bio about the photographer and some information about the chosen work. It's a heavy book and of good quality, and the photos range from abstract to classic to fetish and everything in between. Some you have seen before, a lot are by new names and pics. I think it is a great companion to the Male version - "Exposed".
My only question is that is doesn't really seem to be any "history" - just a collection of good photos from a wide time range - think perhaps the title makes it seem something it is not.
I liked the book and have it on my coffee table.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Women - Not just the ones you expected. Dec 16 2004
By wiredweird - Published on Amazon.com
As the editor points out in the intro, "nude" usually means "nude European female 20-ish, and probably thin."

This book does a lot better. Yes, the subjects are mostly or all nude, and yes they're all women. No, they are not all Anglo, as Phan, Sullivan, and Torcello show. No, they are not all young adults, as Murphy and Kander show. No, they are not all thin, as Glover, Casanave, and Perotte show.

Yes, they are fully functioning women, as O'Sullivan and Fink show, with surprising tributes to physical motherhood. And yes, the female shape is a wonderful thing, simply as a shape, as Carnegie, Lategan, and others show - whatever it is they show.

These pictures give much to think about. Saudek's "Ballerine" proves that age strikes different parts of a woman differently. Look at this portrait again, but not the face, to see what I mean - youth lasts a lot longer than you might think. Go back to Braham's Flower and allow yourself a giggle before you even see where the humor lies. Go all the way forward to Zeschin's contribution, and see why 'bigger is better' just isn't true. Not false, surely, but not true.

The book is organized alphabetically by the working name (not necessarily the born name) of the photographer. In other words, it is utterly random with respect to dates, style, subject, technique, or any other aspect of the images themselves. This emphasizes the photos, the individual women, and the spectrum of womanhood. Still, it leaves me hanging in some intellectual sense - is there some underlying order that I've missed, or is it my job to impose my own order?

I am passionate about women's beauty, as is the editor. Whatever you may have thought, this is a clearly non-erotic view of womanhood, in most cases. Being bare, even being fully sexually functional, are different from being erotic.

-- wiredweird
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating History of Changing Tastes... Sept. 11 2005
By Benjamin J Burgraff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The female nude has been a favorite subject of photographers since the invention of the camera, and "Naked Women" is as much a statement of evolving tastes in photography, as what is defined as 'feminine beauty'. From the chubby, unabashedly provocative 19th century "French Postcard" prostitutes, who appear patently stagey and surprisingly innocent, today, a metamorphosis occurs over the years, as maturity, technological innovations, and changing mores redefines artistic goals, and this volume offers surprising, often fascinating, if sometimes disturbing definitions of the female form.

From stark, high contrast black and white to soft-focus color, from explorations of a nude in purely geometric terms, to images soft and personal, from the naive innocence of childhood to the surprising candor of age, this is a history that comes alive with each image. It is not a book for everyone; many images are not 'pretty pictures', but one must applaud Phil Braham for offering as comprehensive a one-volume history as is likely to be found.

It should be in every photographic enthusiast's collection!
18 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Big Title, small book Feb. 1 2002
By D. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
This is yet another random catalog of pictures of naked women. The authors make no point other than to identify the photographer. Some of these pictures are good, some are bad, some are boring, most are utterly unimportant silly testimonials to the authors' pedestrian taste.
It is what you should expect from a title that equates naked with nude.
I'd also repeat that the "Editorial Review" seems to be about a different book.
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