Reviews - What do customers think about Nude Photographs: Twenty Six Years?
Gorgeous retrospective Mar 12, 2008
Karsten is far and away my favorite figure photographer. His work in recent years focuses on female beauty and on tasteful eroticism. So, of course, I found myself curious about his earlier work and about his progress as an artist. This book does a great job at showing those. The real story is in the images themselves, apart from Karsten's history, and in the models that appear in the photos.
As with all of Karsten's work, I find myself most attracted to simple figure studies. Ute catches my eye, for example - a slim figure, a direct gaze from the model, and a plain background. Perhaps she's not someone I'd notice if she walked by on the street, but Karsten corrects that impression by documenting her unique beauty. Lots of these photos are like that: figures that lie outside the range now considered fashionable, with Karsten reminding us that fashion is wrong a lot. Breasts sag, fuzzy bits appear here and there, and so on - well, that's fashion's problem, not the models', or Karsten's, or mine.
Because his recent work has focused so much on women, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of earlier groupings that feature male models, usually as part of a couple or family setting. The family tone continues in other pictures, with various combinations of parents, children, and partners, and especially with pregnant models - even one couple where both are pregnant.
Anyone familiar with Karsten's later work will recognize models and specific pictures that have been printed in other of his collections. Several even appeared as cover photos. I don't consider them redundant; instead they take a place in the time-series context of the other samples of his work, and give context to them. The collection as a whole lacks the erotic intensity of some of his other works, but gives all you could ask in clear-eyed views of what makes figures memorable.