on 5 September 2000
As the title suggests, this book consists of 1000 photographs of the nude. There is a strong bias towards the female nude, but male figures are also present. The collection consists of pictures dating from the 1850's up to the late 1930's, so is not exactly up-to-date but it would appear to offer a fairly comprehensive survey of the early years of nude photography.
Apart from some early daguerrotypes in fairly washed-out colours, the photography is all black-and-white. The image quality is fairly good, although some of the older originals have deteriorated with age. The quality of the photography is variable; some of it is excellent and some mediocre. Subject matter ranges from academic and classical figure studies, through the early German naturist movement to pin-up and erotic photography. There is an introductory essay and a short introduction to each of the 13 chapters, each in English, German and French. Otherwise the photos are left to speak for themselves with only the minimal inclusion of artist (when known) and date.
This would be a useful source book for artists as well as art historians and anyone with an interest in the human body.
on 19 August 2010
The Taschen publishing house is widely recognised as one of the best publicisers of image collections, particularly of erotic images. This substantial volume of 575 pages charts the use of monochromatic photographic images to portray the human, principally female, form in the hundred years that ended in 1939. The images are from the unique collection made by Uwe Scheid, and the wealth of material available there is imaginatively grouped into particular phases of intent on the part of the photographers, ranging from the overtly arousing to the more subtle 'artistic' aims of the genre. Each section is furnished with a brief essay by Michael Koetzle. Despite the fundamentally erotic nature of depictions of naked females, particularly for male observers, the result proves to be highly tasteful, at least for modern viewers, and the book is truly a gem of outstanding worth, in its breadth and depth.