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Roy Stuart Hardcover – 27 Feb 1998
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Some people would not like this book, and they may even say it is pornography, but there are also quite a few people who would judge any book with nudes in it to be pornography.
But, in my opinion, the images in this book are not pornographic. They are actually much more erotic than the images in Playboy Magazine, which, by the way, many would not consider pornographic. And the images in this book are even more erotic than the images in many men's magazines that most people would definitely consider pornographic. However, unlike the pornographic images in those men's magazines, the images in this book are very artistic and beautiful.
Roy Stuart is an exceptional photographer. The photos in this book are well composed and exquisitely lit. His photos actually have some snapshot quality to them that intensifies the eroticism, but unlike many recent photo books by top fashion photographers, Roy Stuart does not sacrifice technical quality to give the photos that snapshotty edge.
If you appriciate erotic photography, you should definitely get this book.
If you appriciate photography that has a snapshot quality, but are disappointed with recent photo books that lack technical quality, you should get this book.
If you have found pornographic magazines to be boring, and want to see examples of very interesting highly erotic images, you may like this book.
If you think you would be offended by highly erotic images, no matter how artistic, you should probably not buy this book.
That said, some of the subjects of this collection do come across as human beings, and the best photos in this book are the ones where, instead of performing, the models project a sense of real feeling. ("Initiation", though exploitative, does convey a powerful sense of helplessness but also the strength of temptation)
Not as aggressively idiosyncratic (or sickly violent) as Richard Kern, but certainly more sensual.
The subject matter looks like what I would expect from a cheap men's magazine: an uncreative theme with a few photographs showing it. Even this is done poorly. He usually picks up an idea in the middle and leaves us before the end. For example, he'll start with a partially dressed person have her/him remove an article of clothing and then he'll abruptly go to another subject. It leaves me wondering "what was the point of that?"
Many photos are blurry when they should be sharp, taken from a distance when they should be close-up, black and white when color would have been better. The photos of individuals are often obscure, almost pointless. Faces are frequently frustratingly hidden by hair, a turned head, or shadows. I'm assuming this is some kind of shame statement but I would prefer to see facial expressions.
The professed point to the book is an exploration of fetishes. Unfortunately for Mr. Stuart, taking a few close-ups of feet is not sufficient. And while there are other fetishes briefly presented such as a woman finding two men together in the woods, initiating young girls, some light domination, and girls with girls, I would not say that any of these themes was explored in any depth.
After reading reviews of this book, I expected more: creativity, photographic quality, intelligence. Perhaps I am missing the point or my expectations were too high. But, whatever the reason, the book is going back.