Photographic Galatheas in Black and White by the British Artist John Everard
There's a well-known story about the Greek sculptor who fell in love with his own creation, the marble Galathea, and asked Venus to bring it to life. British studio and press photographer John Everard (Edward Forward, active in the 1920s-1960s) seems to show in his photography the sculptural "origin" of the models. Watching Everard's works, we witness the process of sculpturing performed not by a chisel but by light and shadow.
Fig. 1. Artist’s Model, 1952 (worthpoint.com)
Fig. 2. Nude, 1959, ebay.com
Fig. 3. Nude, 1940-49 (collezionemarone.com)
Fig. 4. Nude, 1959
Fig. 5. Breasts, 1940
Fig. 6. Female Torso, 1940
Fig. 7. Japanese Nude, 1955
Fig. 8. Female Nude, 1940s
From Competition to Cooperation
John Everard was a self-taught photographer and a former tea planter who began his artistic activity being a veteran of World War I. He had a studio in London and was a competitor to two remarkable British photographers of that time, Walter Bird and Horace Roye, the author of the Lovelies set (you can check out our article on it!). In 1939, artists decided to give up eclipsing each other and joined the lights of their talents to keep us blind with beauty, so to say. Three photographers founded the Photo Centre Ltd. company. The book with a titillating title Eves Without Leaves (1940) was the first 'child' of their collaboration.
Fig. 9. Female Nude Figure, 1939 (lofty.com)
Fig. 10. Nude figure, 1939 (dantebea.com)
Fig. 11. Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935 (fulltable.com)
Fig. 12. Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935 (unregardoblique.com)
Fig. 13. Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935 (fulltable.com)
Fig. 14. Female Nude, 1940
Fig. 15. Female Nude, 1940
Fig. 16. Female Nude, 1940
Fig. 17. Nude, 1930s (twitter.com)
Fig. 18. Female Torso, 1930s
Fig. 19. Female legs, 1930s
From Eve to Galathea
The first book made solely by Everard was published in 1923. Its' subject was press photography (Photographs for the Papers: How to Take and Place Them). Then, there followed a 12-year gap, probably connected with Everard's studies of the art of nude photography. In his second book, Adam's Fifth Rib, 1935 (Fig. 20), featuring 48 b&w plates, Everard found a subject that would become a leitmotif of his further photography. One of the plates, №31, "Invocation," (Fig. 21) demonstrates the scene that slightly resembles the biblical creation of Eve. In the picture, one human reaches his hands out in astonishment, and another stands in a pose of an ancient magician invoking a creature from the darkness of non-existence. Here we can watch a curious inversion, as the naked soul, whom the magician apparently called for the person standing on the left, looks liver than actual people represented by shadows. The oeuvres from this book combine pictorialist and avant-garde approaches. They evoke in mind both pagan works of Anne Brigman and the surreal experiments of Man Ray. The attention to plastique of body makes these shots similar to the pictures of Lucien Clergue and Edward Weston, but their resemblance to sculpture seems to be most striking.
Fig. 20. Cover of Adam’s Fifth Rib (fulltable.com)
Fig. 21. Invocation (Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935)
Fig. 22. Sitting Figure from Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935 (dantebea.com)
Fig. 23. Nudes in dunes from Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935 (dantebea.com)
Doomed by the Light of Nature
In the foreword, the editor of the British newspaper The Bystander states that "Mr. Everard is one of those inquisitive, persistently creative artists doomed by the light of Nature and a born eye for the unmade picture, to accept the camera as his ruling passion." Despite the "born eye" formula, we should mention that the case of Everard is not like that of Weston, who began photographing at the age of 16. Instead, it is very close to the biography of Everard's collaborator Horace Roye, who didn't want to become a photographer from infancy and took up this profession after trying all kinds of jobs. When we speak of the Photo Centre Ltd. company's founders, there's a weird combination of pragmatism and adventurism, business sense and passion for art. Everard, who issued 15 solo books and two books in collaboration with Roye and Bird, was a member of the British Institute of Professional Photography (FBIPP), which didn't prevent him from contributing to magazines like Men Only. Balancing between art and industry, Everard managed to show us the difference.
Fig. 24. Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935 (fulltable.com)
Fig. 25. Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935 (fulltable.com)
Fig. 26. Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935 (fulltable.com)
Fig. 27. Adam’s Fifth Rib (dantebea.com)
In Premium you can find the complete article with an additional paragraph (including an intriguing reference to Sinead O'Connor's worldwide hit Nothing Compares 2 You) + 18 other enticing nudes...!!!
Sources: Wikipedia.org; pamela-green.com; fulltable.com
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