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.
“A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, And the dry stone no sound of water. Only There is shadow under this red rock, (Come in under the shadow of this red rock), And I will show you something different from either Your shadow at morning striding behind you Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust.” ― T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land (1922)
“Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow” ― T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land (1922)
Life is merely a fracas on an unmapped terrain, and the universe a geometry stricken with epilepsy. ― Emil Cioran, A Short History of Decay (1949)