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The title is intriguing: «Reconsidérer la photographie érotique». (“Reconsidering erotic photography”).
The text itself is brilliant and of great intelligence.
In this 1987 essay, historian Abigail Solomon-Godeau traces avenues for exploring a history of erotic and pornographic photographic production, a history hitherto repressed and absent from narratives. Thus opening the door to a feminist and revised history of the photographic medium, she shows how much this imagery has been abundant and present almost from the origins of photography. In “Reconsidering erotic photography”, Abigail Solomon-Godeau analyzes the ways in which naked bodies are presented in several photographic images from the 1840s-1850s, whether academic nudes or images intended for other types of visual consumption, and questions the specificity of photographic representation as opposed to other mediums. Supporting feminist theories, she raises the question of how these images are viewed, and the ambiguity of their designation, between eroticism and pornography. At the heart of this pioneering essay in the history of photography, she defends the need to write the history of these often set aside productions.
Reconsidérer la photographie érotique.
Notes pour un projet de sauvetage historique
Éléonore Challine (éd. et trad.),
Éditions de la Sorbonne, 2022
quoted from l’œil de la photographie
Although Moulin was sentenced in 1851 to a month in jail for producing images that, according to court papers, were “so obscene that even to pronounce the titles . . . would be to commit an indecency,” this daguerreotype seems more allied to art than to erotica. Instead of the boudoir props and provocative poses typical of hand-colored pornographic daguerreotypes, Moulin depicted these two young women utterly at ease, as unselfconscious in their nudity as Botticelli’s Venus. [quoted from The Met]