by Jules Allen Delano Greenidge Editions, April 2002 $24.95, ISBN ISBN
International Standard Book Number
ISBN International Standard Book Number
ISBN n abbr (= International Standard Book Number) → ISBN m 0-929-44514-7
Photographer Jules Allen originally planned for his first major book of images to be about boxing. But with a slight change of plans, his unblinking lens turned to another highly charged subject--the black, female body. Black Bodies is an exhibition of unbridled nakedness (Writer Joan Morgan, in the foreword, offers an uplifting definition of the word naked.); and the women featured are not of the fashion-model variety and they absolutely revel in it.
Of the 100 black-and-white photographs of women's torsos contorting and flaunting, the compositions appear to embrace and relish the eroticism Eroticism
novel of Alexandrian manners by Pierre Louys. [Fr. Lit.: Benét, 783]
Ovid’s treatise on lovemaking. [Rom. Lit. , fearlessness fear·less
Without fear; brave. See Synonyms at brave.
fearless·ly adv. , gracefulness and playfulness they possess. Many of the photographs reveal intimate details--the texture of skin--one of its greatest strengths. The beauty of Black Bodies lies in its ability to present the body as if it were a masterful sculpture.
While several of the recent books that study the black female body have included historical contexts as a frame of reference and celebrity endorsements, Black Bodies simply applauds the black woman for the "freedom" she personifies. There are no ornate props. No elaborately decorated sets. Not even a description--just natural, raw beauty.
Allen is considered a leading photographer of contemporary African-American culture, and his photographs are featured in many permanent collections, including those of The Studio Museum in Harlem The Studio Museum in Harlem is an American fine arts museum in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, New York. It was founded in 1968 as the first such museum in the U.S. and The Museum of Modern Art. A professor of art and photography at Queensborough Community College Queensborough Community College is one of six community colleges within the City University of New York (CUNY) system. It is located in the neighborhood of Bayside, Queens County, New York City, New York. of the City University of New York The City University of New York (CUNY; acronym: IPA pronunciation: [kjuni]), is the public university system of New York City. , he has worked mostly in the realm of commercial and editorial photography, displaying his talents in various magazines, such as Black Enterprise and Forbes, as well as producing artwork for Antilles and Def Jam Records.
So why a book of nudes? "Well, Delano Greenidge approached me with the idea for this one," Allen says. Harlem-based Delano Greenidge Editions is one of a handful of independent, black-owned publishers of quality visual books in the U.S.
"I believe there's a distinct and particular form that black women carry, one that I particularly admire," says Allen. "I want people to see black women simply as they see themselves, in the light. And these women trusted my love of the light."
A native of San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden , Allen has lived in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of since 1978, but he's been taking pictures since the early 1970s. As a well-tuned observer of his surroundings, he says he is mainly concerned with the human experience as it relates to the dreams and realities explored within the black community. With a serious look at the black female aesthetic, Black Bodies is an exploration that radiates with self-confidence and sexuality.
--Clarence V. Reynolds is a writer residing in New York.