Photographic Galatheas in Black and White by the British Artist John Everard
21 januari 2022 
23 min. read

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

 John Everard’s photography

Fig. 1. Artist’s Model, 1952 (worthpoint.com)

 John Everard

Fig. 2. Nude, 1959, ebay.com

 John Everard nude

Fig. 3. Nude, 1940-49 (collezionemarone.com)

 John Everard nude photography

Fig. 4. Nude, 1959

 John Evera breasts

Fig. 5. Breasts, 1940

 John Evera female torso

Fig. 6. Female Torso, 1940 

 John Evera Japanese nude

Fig. 7. Japanese Nude, 1955

 John Evera female nude

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. 

female nude figure John Everard 

Fig. 9. Female Nude Figure, 1939 (lofty.com)

 female nude John Everard

Fig. 10. Nude figure, 1939 (dantebea.com)

 John Everard Adams Fifth Rib

Fig. 11. Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935 (fulltable.com)

 Adams Fifth Rib John Everard

Fig. 12. Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935 (unregardoblique.com)

 John Everard nude at lake

Fig. 13. Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935 (fulltable.com)

 John Everard nude close up

Fig. 14. Female Nude, 1940 

 John Everard nude in the open air

Fig. 15. Female Nude, 1940 

 John Everard reclining nude close up

Fig. 16. Female Nude, 1940 

John Everard reclining nude close up art

Fig. 17. Nude, 1930s (twitter.com)

female torso John Everard

Fig. 18. Female Torso, 1930s

 female legs John Everard

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. 

 cover Adam's Fifth rib

Fig. 20. Cover of Adam’s Fifth Rib (fulltable.com)

 John Everard invocation

Fig. 21. Invocation (Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935)

John Everard  photography art 

Fig. 22. Sitting Figure from Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935 (dantebea.com)

 Nudes in dunes from Adam’s Fifth Rib

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.

Photograph Nude with hoop


Fig. 24. Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935 (fulltable.com)

Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935

Fig. 25. Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935 (fulltable.com)

 john everard British Photographer

Fig. 26. Adam’s Fifth Rib, 1935 (fulltable.com)

 john everard female nude at door

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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About the author
Darya is a philologist who lives and works in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. She is specialized in Russian literature.
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