Jock Sturges

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Cheryl Jacobs, Feb 17, 2009.

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  1. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    I just finished reading a great interview with Jock Sturges, conducted by my friend and APUG member Tim Morehead. I'm mentioning it here in the Ethics and Philosophy section because he talks extensively about his experience with the federal government and how it did / didn't affect his work.

    He also talks in depth about how he approaches his subjects, and his views on photography in general. It's a really good read.

    The website is http://www.interviewwithanartist.com

    - CJ
     
  2. ilya1963

    ilya1963 Member

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    Thank you Cheryl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Great read.
     
  3. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    that is really a great interview and really insightful.
     
  4. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Really cool. A very nice insight into a photographer I greatly admire. He seems as warm and thoughtful a human being as I had imagined.

    I'm glad he has been able to put the efforts of the pervert wack jobs behind him. He is right when he says that too much thinking and talking about them is a victory for their weird agenda.
     
  5. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    Great reading ! Thanks, Cheryl !
     
  6. Amund

    Amund Member

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    Fantastic interview with one of my favorite photographers. Thanks for sharing Cheryl.
     
  7. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    ahem...
    First: I haven't read the article yet - have to print it out to be able to do it..

    But it is funny.. I have just come home from the school, where we have seen a long DVD documentary from 2007 with Sturges...

    And I must admit, that he gives me a creeping feeling, when I hear him talk - and the see his images..

    I am not fond of him, but that is maybe a long winded story as to why..

    But maybe I am one of "them with a wierd agenda" ? :rolleyes:

    (looking foreward to read the article though..)
     
  8. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    I'm always up for a long-winded story! :smile: Maybe you could elaborate when you have the chance....
     
  9. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm not fond of Sturges either, there's something about it that bothers me, and yes... gives me the creeps, too. He elaborates about how well he knows the models, and perhaps my own perception of the work is off, but the seem only to be about surface beauty.

    Beautiful light, beautiful nude figures at the beach, beautiful skin tones, well crafted beautiful large format pictures. It's all so very beautiful. And for me, not much else. They don't really raise many questions in me... I'm not even particularly curious about his relationship with the models that he talks about at length; and despite his lengthy descriptions of their relationships, I'm not sure that this personal emotional connection is present in the pictures. How can it be, when so much of the work is about the surface of things. At least, I have a hard time seeing it.

    YMMV, of course.
     
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  10. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    No, the same people that went after him would go after you or me. He was just an easier mark because of the age of some of his models. The persons who went after him however, hate the human form and find perversions in everything, and are a danger to everything. My only impressions of Sturges are from this one interview and his photos. It is probably a complex subject. Over coffee perhaps.
     
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  11. David Brown

    David Brown Member

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    Is beauty for its own sake so bad? What questions do you want answered?
     
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    Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    I find myself oddly on the reverse side of this statement. While there are a few of his images that strike me as "pretty only", I see quite a lot of his work as being very connected with the model. Particularly when I looked through his book "Muse" a few weeks back.

    I will say that while he in no way creeps me out, I am not particularly drawn to his personality. If I hadn't known his work for years before getting a feel for what he's like as a person, his personality might negatively affect how I see his work.

    I would agree with David in wondering what is so bad about a simply beautiful photograph?
     
  13. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Nothing.

    Just to clarify my point. I quite like how beautiful they are, but it's not enough to keep me intrigued with this work.

    And David, I'm interested in questions, not answers. I find pictures that spark questions, or thoughts in my own mind more interesting than those that don't. His, for whatever reason, feel shallow, and I don't go back to them very often.
     
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  15. Tim M

    Tim M Member

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    There is a quote that I love;

    "We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are."
    - Anais Nin

    I think that quote provides a plethora of answers for us, if we can be honest with ourselves. Yes, sometimes beauty is enough. Not every photographer has to be a philosopher or anthropologist. If those are the type answers you are looking for, there are plenty of photographers that can help you find them.

    We wouldn't go to neurosurgeon if we needed to be treated for syphilis, would we? Sure, they are both doctors, but they specialize in two entirely different things. The same goes for photographers. Why do we feel the need to bust the chops of one just because they don't shoot like the other, or if they don't provide the answers that we think they should provide?

    I am, by no means or in any way, suggesting that you, me or anyone has to like what Jock does. Hell, I don't like everything that I do so why should I like everything that every other photographer does? We all have our own likes and dislikes, taste and opinions. An image that might be profound and deeply moving for one of us could be very shallow and hold no merit for another.

    We like what we like. No right or wrong when it comes to taste... unless it is just extremely poor taste. :tongue:

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a beautiful photo is enough.
     
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  16. ilya1963

    ilya1963 Member

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    There are a few very interesting and honest points in this interview that I can very much relate to , but just never pronounced them out loud....

    1- "SEEING" is a "TASTE" - I find it fascinating that it could be reduced to this two words... very minimalistic .... I really dig it

    2- "Why do you photograph?" - " because I want to own the pictures I make " - that is so me ....

    Once again, Cheryl, thank you for posting this

    As far as his work goes , I just watch a documentary on Roman Polanski the other day and I got to say that French culture makes America feel like prison .... I happen to see Jock Sturges original prints and they are very very beautiful , books don't do them justice , they have air/light about them that's breathtaking.


    ILYA
     
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  17. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    I knew Jock quite well when he still lived in SF before moving to Washington state where his wife would attend Med school. I even had the chance to spend a wonderful evening with him and two of his long-time models. All I can say is when people start talking about creepy, etc, etc, well, the above quote says it all.
     
  18. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    I've had the pleasure of hearing Jock Sturges speak several times, and I love his work and find it inspiring.

    But I've often wondered - he started out as a photographer for the San Francisco Ballet. I would love to see images of dancers done in the style, and with the technical perfection, of his nude work.
     
  19. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    Cheryl.

    No disrespect to you, but concerning the photographs of the children he takes, I would have to deem that particular portion of his body of work as nothing more than a legalized form of PEDOPHILIA. A method by which sick individuals are granted, be they female or male permission to prey upon the young and innocent in the name of "ART".

    I am not saying that he is a PEDOPHILE because I have never met him, and it would be wrong for me to label him as such with out any solid proof, but in most cases a photographers work speaks for itself.

    Does it not?

    Jamusu.
     
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  20. Tim M

    Tim M Member

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    "We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are."
    - Anais Nin
     
  21. jmal

    jmal Member

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    Wow...
     
  22. jamusu

    jamusu Member

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    Tim.

    What exactly are you eluding to with such a statement? Don't hide behind someone else's words. Be a man; speak your mind freely. I beg this of you.

    Jamusu.
     
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  23. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This comment annoys me on so many levels. An older male photographer obsessively photographing and objectifying leggy nude models on the beach bothers me to a degree. Yes... he's doing it quite beautifully. Whatever, :rolleyes:

    Have you ever had an older man take a good long leering look at your breasts?

    Creeps me out... hmm, does that really make me a creep because sometimes his pictures remind me of those moments?
     
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    Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    I'm sorry, Jamusu, but I wholeheartedly disagree with this line of thought. To impose our own views of morality onto a person from a vastly different culture and background is irrational at best. You must keep in mind, among other things, the fact that the children and adolescents Jock Sturges has photographed are from naturalist families; the photographs are of these people (all ages) living everyday life according to their own values. To document those lives, with the full ongoing permission of all his subjects, is simply honest. He states emphatically that he has never instructed his subjects to undress, or really to do much of anything.

    In most parts of the world outside the US, children run naked on beaches, happy in their most natural state; I would no more pass judgment on the work of a photographer like Jock Sturges than I would on those children's parents. I have some "natural state" images of my kids and nephews; have I done something morally wrong?

    In these times, we must all be VERY careful about the word "pedophile." It's got such ugly connotations, and unless you are certain of what you're talking about, it's best not to throw it around lightly.

    - CJ
     
  25. Tim M

    Tim M Member

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    I am saying that we all see things differently. The way we see is highly a result of our background/upbringing. Just because you see his work in one particular way doesn't make it a fact.

    I am the son of two evangelical ministers and it has taken a long long time for me to find my own truth in the way that I see and perceive things. I have struggled for decades to truly see, some people don't put forth much effort in trying to do the same.
     
  26. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The quote is deeper than that. Seeing "pedophilia" in a non sexual nude of a child is simply a reflection on the person who sees that. It doesn't mean that they are a pedophile, simply that is how they see. Seeing anything in a photograph is a reflection of ourselves. A photograph of my young son in the bathtub brings to me feelings and memories of happiness, because tub time with my son is fun and happy, If someone sees "pedophilia", it talks about them, not my son or me, and by my definition that makes them the pervert. American society is truly screwed up. For a lot of people here nudity is always sexual. It is a phenomena of repression. A naked man is "homo erotic", a naked woman is "objectified", a naked child is "pedophilia". They are on automatic. Many people here see evil in everything, and in doing so reveal the evil in themselves.

    I did have a man leer at my breasts once. I found it confusing, rather than creepy :wink:.
     
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