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Heavenly Bodies Hardcover – 2 Apr 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: BRUNO GMUNDER VERLAG (2 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3867870195
  • ISBN-13: 978-3867870191
  • Product Dimensions: 28.4 x 21.6 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 893,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SECRET-BOUDOIR on 25 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Bought this book with an open mind. LOVED IT! Lovely tasteful images to inspire if you are considering photographing men in the buff with "ripped" bodies. About 1/4 of the book shows full frontal which isn't what I was looking for but more posing styles without showing their dangly bits (but some are worth showing off!). Have now got plenty of inspiration from the book to draw from. Worth every penny. If I lost it, I would buy another copy straight away! Lovely lighting of the subjects in bedroom scenes as well as studios.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 15 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Shot like a god... 19 Oct. 2009
By J. Salzenstein - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Whenever I'm buried in paperwork and swamped with too much of the everyday crap that we all have to deal with at our jobs, I try to remember some of the fantastic perks of being an EDGE editor. I get to travel to fabulous places, largely for free; I get to try fantastic new products months before they're in stores; and at the top of the list, I get to sit back at my desk and flip through coffee table books filled with incredibly gorgeous naked men- and get paid for writing about it!

When it comes to naked men, there are few photographers who capture their beauty as well as David Vance; if he shot the photos, it doesn't matter whether I'm being paid or not- I'll still spend an hour flipping through the pages. And drooling. Vance has the ability to not only select models with the most incredible physiques, but to capture them in moments that convey much more than simply superficial sexiness; his shots radiate energy and tension, express subtle emotion, and tell a story.

The story of Heavenly Bodies is elegant in its simplicity, expressed in the book's title. Among the more than 100 pages are photographs of nude men who appear as if they'd be more comfortable, or at-home, in the heavens. Men born of angelic parents, these are the guys of fantasies- perfect in every way... or at least on the page of a book.

Heavenly Bodies is divided into two sections, or `books': Earthly Beauty and Celestial Beauty. The differences between the two are subtle, and for most intents and purposes unimportant; the former could be considered more modern and `grounded,' the latter more influenced by the Italian Renaissance, with slight religious overtones.

The volume is beautifully presented, and like all coffee table books from Bruno Gmunder, features high-quality printing, and a simply, stylish format.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Vance's photographs are perfect in every sense 4 Oct. 2010
By C. Collins - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the second book of photography by David Vance that I have purchased. David Vance is a perfectionist, his compositions and the quality of his work is perfect and the models he selects are perfect examples of male beauty. In this book, David Vance approaches the nude male form in several ways and expands a bit from his previous volume of nude male photography. He divides the book into two sections, Earthly Beauty and Heavenly Beauty. In Timeless, Vance uses only black and white, to maximum effect, whereas in the Earthly Bodies section of this book he does use color but it is highly controlled soft color using neutral earth tones and natural brown-grays. The use of beige and taupe means that all contrast is between dark and light and not between color tones, thus never competing with the structure of the nude male body. Vance does have a formalist sensibility in the composition of many of his photographs. By formalist, I am referring to emphasis on the symmetry of the nude body, the use of body as a geometric entity, and the enhancement of the formal structural aspects of the nude body with background shapes that compliment or juxtapose the nude body. There is an emphasis on balance and geometry in these photographs. The former masters of this style are George Platt Lynes and Robert Mapplethorpe. Lynes would often emphasize the body but have the head turned away, whereas Vance has recognizable models, thus the formalism is complimented by the psychological dimension when a face is revealed on a nude. Mapplethorpe is highly formal but uses less perfect models. There is a difference when a photographer chooses to use perfect men or when he chooses to use less perfect models. The issue with perfection in the human face has more to do with symmetry. The perfect face is more geometric, structural, and symmetrical which Vance uses to further the formal structural aspects of his nudes. Some of the photographs capture athletes, martial artists, gymnasts or dancers in motion and to Vance's credit he often captures both grace and movement in the photographs. As in Vance's other collection, Time Less, the use of candid, relaxed, un-self conscious photography is not really present here and is not Vance's intention. In every photograph the beautiful young man knew he was being photographed, knew exactly when the photograph was taken, and had some conscious notion of how he was projecting toward the camera. Vance's photographic philosophy may be contrasted to that of Bruce Weber, like Vance a photographer who has been involved in fashion photography and fine art photography. The less-planned, informal, often candid photograph of the model is a strength of Bruce Weber's photography. Weber often shoots his models when they are unaware or have briefly become less aware of the presence of the photographer, which gives a different sense to the intention of the photograph and to the final results. Weber may photograph a model dressing or undressing before the photo session actually starts. In contrast, in David Vance's photographic world, the models don't seem to have a history but rather are captured in the photo session independent of their personality or experiences. Another photographer of he nude male, Duane Michaels, offers another comparison to the nude photography of David Vance. Duane Michaels is poetic and compliments the photograph with the written word. He often uses a narrative format so that the photograph tells a story and the photographs together weave a pictorial narrative. David Vance actually works against this tendency since he rarely shows photographs that were taken in sequence in a sequence in the volume. This breaks up the tendency to narration or to give a `story' to the sequence of photographs. This is evidence that Vance consciously has formalistic considerations first and psychological or character considerations are downplayed. It is perfection that he seeks and achieves. Vance focuses on the physical structure of the male, the way in which the parts come together to form a whole, to demonstrate how those parts function when a human moves, to make maximum use of contrasting light and dark, to convey the shape of the nude male body. The second section of the book, Heavenly Bodies, is a break from Vance's previous publication in that images that resonate with Italian Renaissance painting appear and the props become clear guides as to the references, such as angle wings or even a crown of twisted vines evoking the paintings of the nude Christ. There is also reference to classical mythology in that some of the photos appear to be of Greek or Roman gods emerging from the sea. One image is clearly Hermes with winged sandals. However, even in these photographs of angels and gods, there is a resistance to the narrative and an emphasis on the structural. As in Timeless, the photography here is flawless and technically of the highest level. The men are some of the most handsome men photographed nude that I have ever seen in any publication. The control of the photographer is present in every photograph.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Tribute to the Male Form and Fantasy 4 July 2012
By Grady Harp - Published on
Format: Hardcover
David Vance has produced a fine book of photography of the male nude, the mixed format of solitary male nudes with images Vance has created of mythological heroes and other airbourne figures emphasizing his recreation of timeless attitudes and poses of athletic young men. These statuesque young athletic forms are usually found in museums of Greek and Roman sculpture but here they are 'live' and either celebrate the glory of the male physique of prominent athletes, or to engender fertility!

At first glance the poses in which Vance captures his models may seem theatrical to the extreme, but given the concept of the volume - that the male physique at its peak form has been a model of excellence since time began - the poses soon capture the imagination and the possible sculptural ideas begin to leap of the page.

These models are beautifully muscled and developed athletes whose forms in the natural state before the camera vie for the best in the sculptures of the great artists of the past and present. Erotic, yes. Pushed to the extremes of definition, yes. Prettified at times, yes. But it all works. Vance has a keen eye for the juxtaposition of hard flesh with soft drape and soft light and his photographs are for the most part timeless in nature. A fine exhibition, this, and one that deserves attention as much as his famous celebrity photography ventures. Grady Harp, July 12
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
earth is better than heaven 12 Mar. 2010
By A. Kokotek - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this book is gorgeous. the men are great, all of the pictures in the 1st half are superb. the 2nd looks kind of fake and is more concept art than truly beautiful. Mr Vance is clearly a talented artist and his work is great.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful Photography of the Human Male 12 Sept. 2009
By Rev. Mark Johnson - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book exhibits some of the most beautiful male aspects of a man's body. They are done with taste and class and I highly recommend the book to all those persons learning to love their body and appreciate the diversity of our brothers!
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