Robert Giard Writes

The nudes began with my first body of work in 1974: a series of self- Thereafter, friends, lovers, and acquaintances served as the occasions for the male nudes. From the point of view of the subject matter, two “settings” for the nude are recurrent in my work: one is the bath, for its intimacy and sensuality, and the other involves a second figured work within the photograph, usually some vernacular renderings of the male or female nude. From the point of view of approach to the subject, two directions are apparent. One is the tendency to classicize and to abstract the human form. In more recent work my inclination is to subsume the nude under the heading of the portrait. Rather than being examples of “the Nude,” they are pictures of people who are naked. Curiously enough, the more classical, formal approach seems to me to skirt pornography more closely than the portrait approach. The classical handling, which depersonalizes the human form, allows for sexual fantasy. The portrait introduces an element of banality and specificity which is unsettling and off-putting. I think that this kind of banality and specificity are intrinsic to the medium of photography — and not without its own eroticism. As Kafka remarked in his Diaries, “… the act of description is an erotic art.” Isn’t photography an act of description?