These photographs are the result of a fun and surprisingly sunny summer. Originally we were just looking to play about with a new digital camera, drink a bottle or three of wine and capture some pictures that could be used as source images for paintings, drawings or etchings. With a love of movies, burlesque and a treasure chest of old films on DVD to dip into it wasn’t long before we were raiding the local charity shops and creating our own flick chic! Dressing up (and down!) we ended up with a unexpected set of burlesque boudoir style black and white photographs that evoke the retro glamour and nostalgia of old 1930’s,1940’s and 1950’s movie star pin up photographs; the glamorous and teasing photographs that I enjoyed as a schoolboy; the age of Marilyn Monroe, well thumbed books of sensuous black and white fine art photography from the school library and the occasional naughty magazine borrowed from older boys!
Many of these photos draw their spirit from the 1930’s of Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin: Depression, Depravity and Divine Decadence! A time for Cabaret, burlesque, striptease, night clubs and living dangerously. Throw in Bob Fosse, Lou Reed, Leotards, leggings, sweat and All that jazz, and you have a heady mix that is suddenly frighteningly relevant again. So Bienvenue and Welcome! .. Its Showtime! Let’s take you for a Walk on our Wild Side!
The images here were a experiment. We wanted serious source material for painting and drawing. but on the way we also had a lot of fun! Discovering a world of boudoir glamour, fine art nude photography and even erotica using a relatively inexpensive digital camera, some rickety studio lights and a combined wealth of cinemagraphic and cultural references.
We decided very early on to set the camera to black and white. Possibly a bizarre choice given the capabilities of modern cameras but, I have taught photography, was weaned on Ilford HP5, FP4 and PanF, have blundered around blindly in a darkroom slopping about chemicals and have often forgotten to wind on my venerable Nikon FM. I have underdeveloped, overdeveloped and scratched hundreds of negatives and wasted endless packets of expensive paper!