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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sunny innocents growing up and developing new family ties
Before reading this review or this book, please be aware that it contains many consensual nude images of male and female children in family settings. This book would not be able to get an "R" rating if it were a motion picture. If such things are offensive, read no further.
Jock Sturges is creating a time-lapse view of a handful of familes. This book is the second in...
Published on 29 July 2004 by Donald Mitchell

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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unanswered questions leave viewer uneasy.
It is no exaggeration to say that this book of photographs, and the others in the Sturges' canon, has attracted as much notoriety as anything else published in the last century. Indeed, so intensely has the debate raged about the in/appropriateness of Sturges' art that it is very difficult to look at his work with an unbiased eye.
Since his famous courtroom victory...
Published on 22 Jan. 2001


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sunny innocents growing up and developing new family ties, 29 July 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jock Sturges: Radiant Identities: Photographs by Jock Sturges (Paperback)
Before reading this review or this book, please be aware that it contains many consensual nude images of male and female children in family settings. This book would not be able to get an "R" rating if it were a motion picture. If such things are offensive, read no further.
Jock Sturges is creating a time-lapse view of a handful of familes. This book is the second in the series, following the superb work called The Last Day of Summer. In this book, most of those who posed for the photographs were asked to describe the experience. Here are two quotes from what they said:
"We are not naked for the pictures, we are naked for the summer, and because we are alive."
"This I enjoy."
The images are done with a large format camera and reproduced in gelatin silver prints. The models often help set up the equipment and suggest scenes to shoot.
Mr. Sturges takes photographs each year, and publishes them. From these images, you can see the subtle changes in the person, how their relations grow with siblings, friends and parents, and the inner core of the person that is unchanging. His subjects are people who regularly practice naturism in Europe and the United States. So he is capturing them as they would normally be.
Taken outdoors usually, the images can acquire an almost lyrical quality. One image in this book deserves special mention. I think it is the best I have seen of Mr. Sturges's work. The image is of Alisa, Christina, Misty Dawn, and Teresa in Northern California in 1993. It shows the young women lolling on misty rocks just above the boiling ocean looking ever so much like self-absorbed versions of the mythical sirens, but with the ease and comfort of sunning sea lions. It is an extraordinary vision of natural joy.
Here are many of my favorites from this remarkable volume:
Unless otherwise noted, you should assume that these were shot in Montalivet, France. Francois 1992; Raphaelle 1993; Bettina 1993; Marine et Maia 1991; Raphaelle, Celine, Alysha et Danielle 1993; Marine 1993; Tamara 1993; Arianne et Sa Mere 1989; Francois et Adrian 1993; Danielle 1991; Danielle, Oud Heusden, The Netherlands 1992; Marine, Clermont-Ferrand, France 1989; Laurel, Northern California 1992; Brooke, Northern California 1992; Cecile 1993; Arianne 1991; Hanneke 1992; Mike and Chicken, Northern California 1993; Christina, Northern California 1993; Danielle, Oud Heusden, The Netherlands 1993; Laura et Lou 1992; Marie et Bettina 1992; Leaham and Layla, Southern Oregon 1981; Maia 1991; Maia et Marine 1993; Brooke, Northern California 1985; Jessie, Northern California 1985; Misty Dawn, Northern California 1991.
After you finish enjoying these tender images, I suggest that you give everyone in your family a camera and go on an annual photo shoot. Although you cannot hope to match Jock Sturges, these images will evoke many happy memories in years to come.
Let the sun shine through!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Images of rare luminosity from a gifted courageous humanist, 8 Mar. 1998
By A Customer
It seems Jock Sturges has simply accepted that no matter what our age, our sexualities are with us. There is rich expression of this in our family lives and every aspect of our experience as we grow. His photographs are startling in their eloquence on the subject. There is something timeless and perfect that speaks to us from the images of pubescent children that he and his models fashion together - in nature, in friendship and in their families.
Their is a natural honesty in his work that shocks many Americans because of the deep tradition here of cultural puritanism. If you are so afflicted, gentle reader, please be unafraid to peek through your fingers at this book.
Jock Sturges speaks to us in this volume with courage and from his deep humanity, enormous artistry and rare technical virtuosity. His photographs become luminous among our own memories.
- Bob Brecht
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the prudish?, 16 Jun. 2004
This review is from: Jock Sturges: Radiant Identities: Photographs by Jock Sturges (Paperback)
How to review this?
Simplistic? This is a coffee table book of Black and White images of mainly naked teenage, or at least pubescent, girls.
No, that makes it sound like something thats perverted.
Advisory? Don't buy this if you're offended by the human body!
No, do buy it, and see how natural it is to be nude, or semi clothed!
Historical? Jock Sturges did have problems with the American police who said some of his images were pornographic.
They didn't win, a judge said they were ok.
Summing up: The cover picture gives a guide to some of the pictures inside. There are pictures of nudists, male and female, mainly youngsters luxuriating in the sun in France and California.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Imagery at it's finest, 8 Nov. 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Jock Sturges: Radiant Identities: Photographs by Jock Sturges (Paperback)
The images in this book evoke a sense of innocence that we have lost in fear of retrobution from the religeous zealots in our society. I myself come from a Christian point of view, and I can truly say that I was never offended by this body of work. We need people like you pushing the envelope of our preconceived notions of so called "Purity". Your work has reinspired me to take chances in my work. Thank you.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unanswered questions leave viewer uneasy., 22 Jan. 2001
By A Customer
It is no exaggeration to say that this book of photographs, and the others in the Sturges' canon, has attracted as much notoriety as anything else published in the last century. Indeed, so intensely has the debate raged about the in/appropriateness of Sturges' art that it is very difficult to look at his work with an unbiased eye.
Since his famous courtroom victory Sturges has become something of a martyr to the cause of free expression. He has assumed the (indignant) moral high ground and his detractors have routinely been dismissed as censorial (sin no. 1 in modern America), fascist, and/or Christian.
Perhaps much of the criticism is deserved; however, there are still many unresolved uncertainties surrounding his work, many of which are apparent in Radiant Identities. Sturges' work is often described as being predominantly about the innocence of children and the interaction of close families. Yet there is nothing to explain his obvious fascination for adolescent girls, whose images dominate this work. The text does not address this imbalance, which does seem to raise questions best not left to the speculative imagination.
There is, of course, nothing intrinsically wrong with child/adult studies of the nude and only an extreme minority of eccentrics considers nudity essentially immoral. Even in the Christian tradition (and this is an important point as much criticism of Sturges' work has come from the Christian Right) there is a history of artistic representations of the protagonists of the Christian story either nude or near nude. (The crucified Christ is often portrayed in this fashion and naked children abound in depictions of cherubim, etc.) As these images have been venerated throughout the history of the church the religious objection cannot revolve around nudity per sei.
What is perhaps at issue is the society into which these photographs are published, the uses to which they will be put and the photographer's responsibility for their eventual use. I wonder if the children featured (and their parents, who consented to publication) would feel so esteemed at having been photographed by Sturges if they had seriously apprehended that, inevitably, the images would attract the attention of pornographers. I suspect that it is one thing to privately own a photograph of one's young daughter, admired for its innocent beauty, and quite another to imagine that photograph being poured over by a pervert.
It is perhaps an irony that it would only be in a truly moral society (one hesitates to say Christian) that photographs like these could be innocently appreciated (as we are led to believe the photographer wishes them to be appreciated). Unfortunately, we do not live in such a benign world. That is why, notwithstanding the essential beauty of the images, their possession and display will always be a cause of unease.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Soothing, 28 Aug. 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Jock Sturges: Radiant Identities: Photographs by Jock Sturges (Paperback)
Beautiful portraits presented innocently which convey a sense of peace and comfort. I found myself viewing innocence itself in a drastically different way. Greatly looking forward to Jock's next project.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Depiction of Life, 23 Oct. 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Jock Sturges: Radiant Identities: Photographs by Jock Sturges (Paperback)
M. Sturges captures the fleeting youth of all of us. We should not forget this "Age of Innocence," as it were. The artistic eye with coöperation of his subjects makes an excellent publication.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These are thoughtful, mature, artistic photographs., 14 May 1998
By A Customer
Many of us have now acquired visual sophistication. Given the present day bombardment (family snap shots and home candid photos; news photos; photo advertising; television and movie special effects; Internet graphics; pop art and op-art; magazine and pulp layouts, and displays) the genre's of portrait and art photography may seem slow, dull and unexciting. Sturges' work shows that, using the simple elements of photography (light, shadow, curve, angle, foreground, background, space and juxtaposition) robust and clear visually centered experiences are yet possible.
This collection of black & white photographs by Jock Sturges is quick and alive. His images step to the viewer with boldness, balance, and firmness. Both the eye and the mind are challenged to carefully examine every aspect of each view presented. There is power and there is elegance throughout the book from the very first image: We approach the photographer's outdoor studio from a great distance. There is an opening landscape showing an undefined space where heaven and earth, sky and ocean, sand and cloud are mixed, yet free-standing. Sturges later presents an incredible portrait/landscape extending the space between four nude, human figures, while maintaining their identity as a family group. Each person (two women, one man, one boy) is distinct both from the land and from the group that are the background and context providing definition; and we see five portraits within a portrait. The land and sky and sea, then, is the fifth member of the family group. A second portrait of this group shows one of the women standing against what appears to be a large disk (a photographer's sun reflector). Now, we are closer to the full nude figures of the two women and adult male. The young boy seems tucked away in a treasure nook just between and below the two females. The viewer is now drawn and brought so near, we are the fifth person of the family circle.
The achievement, here, cannot be credited to accident, chance, or luck. ! Throughout the work, artistic elements are seen that must be attributed to the knowledge, skill, maturity and tastefulness of the photographer. Many excellent group pieces show the photographer as expert in composition. For example, there is one piece displaying a group of six females standing and seated on the front porch of a house, with a boy standing in the shadows of the open door. There is a wonderful image of four women lying in the sun. Another shows mother and daughter with others arranged upon a rock.
"François et Adrian" is an unforgetable masterpiece evoking both El Greco and Michelangelo. It shows two nude boys, holding hands, alone together on the beach. Startling accents appear through the shadows that fall upon their bodies; and the shadows cast by their bodies provide strong elements of color and rhythm. A three-dimensional effect appears through the boy on the right. The line of his right leg appears as much as 75 percent of the figure's total measure. A rich detail is seen in the cupped hand of the boy on the left. Their clasped hands establish a peculiar center for the piece; the fingers alternately appear separated by light and darkness.
Bodies are a major focus of these photographs-faces may express annoyance, indifference, warning, or disinterest. There are no instances where the nudity seems forced or unnatural; yet, there are places where it is difficult to believe that clothing could diminish the impact, or detract anything from the overall statement of the piece. Several pieces directly communicate very great sexual energy and power. Some even show figures with tans so burnished and beautiful that the bodies appear to glow. Nevertheless, these are not the photos of a sunbather magazine or naturist newsletter. These are not the photos of sex sell and pornography. These are thoughtful, mature, artistic photographs. Jesus is the Lord.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An archivist rather than an artist..., 23 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Jock Sturges: Radiant Identities: Photographs by Jock Sturges (Paperback)
I read Mr. Sturges' book based on the recommendation of a friend, and I must say that I was a tad disappointed. While he is a very good photographer, Sturges' work has a journalistic or photo essay quality about it that drains much of the artistry out of it. Or if it is artistry, one must ask what Sturges is attempting to portray with these bleak photos of mostly bored or depressed looking people.
All in all, I must say that if you are looking for a lesson in photo essay techniques, this is a good book. If you are looking for more artistic and uplifting works about a similar theme, however, I would recommend the works of David Hamilton.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Artistry and emotion in these photos is Inspiring, 18 Dec. 1997
By A Customer
Until a Local News Station reported the protesting of the works, and photos by the Artist Jock Sturges, I had not herd of either. I ordered the book that night to see what all the hoopla was about. After reading the book, and shairing the Imiges with my Family we were pleasantly amazed. In some of the imiges, I felt a cannection, with the honesty and integrity of the Personnallity being photografed. There are no Masks here. It is Genuin. These are not just models poseing for someone with a camera. The Photografer in some way reached inside these people and capured something rearly sean even by the models themselves. Four of my favorites are on pages 42, 44, 45, and 47. The Artistry and Emotion captured in these imiges is Inspireing.
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