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Radiant Identities: Photographs by Jock Sturges Hardcover – June 15, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


"Of course there's the curiosity. What do I look like? Sometimes disappointment, sometimes pleasure. But it's not just about me: Jock makes the whole world look remarkable--like heaven. He lets me see my own world in a new way."--the voice of one of Sturges's subjects, from Elizabeth Beverly's introduction

"[Sturges's] gelatin silver prints luxuriate in textures of sand, flesh, cloth, tide pools and gentle waves. . . . superbly printed, expressive in their modulations of light and joyful tonalities . . . the high mark of Sturges's work is its naturalness, its gentle attentions to the pleasure that can be found in life."--The Boston Globe

" . . . Sturges's people are grave, well-formed, and poetic. Best to think of his world as an inviting fiction: one phtographer's Eden, where a little knowledge doesn't get you expelled from the garden."--People magazine

About the Author

Jock Sturges received a B.A. in Perceptual Psychology and Photography from Marlboro College in Vermont and an M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute. He has exhibited widely in the United States as well as in France and Japan. His photographs are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

Elizabeth Beverly's ethnographic fieldwork focuses on women's culture among the Mandinko of rural Senegal. Her articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in Ethos, Soundings, and Commonweal. Her most recent play, Kindred Minds, was performed in 1993 in Portland, Oregon.

A. D. Coleman is the author of The Grotesque in Photography, Light Readings, and two forthcoming collections of essays: Depth of Field and Critical Focus. Presently, he is the photography critic for the New York Observer; his columns appear regularly in Photo Metro, Juliet Art Magazine (Italy), and European Photography (Germany).

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Aperture; 1st edition (1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0893815950
  • ISBN-13: 978-0893815950
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 10.2 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,251,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 69 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
These are wonderful, sensitive pictures. All of them document the human figure (both male and female) in many of its ages. It's a topic that can never get old, not as long as the viewer is human too.
Normally, I don't have strong response to photography as art. At first, I simply enjoyed the peaceful scenes and happy people that Sturges portrays. Many of his subject are young people, though, and my mind drifted back to myself at their age. Somehow, it all came rushing back to me: that sense of mystery and awe, about fifth grade, when I first started seeing the girls around me becoming young women. Sturges has a unique talent for showing the steps between child and adult with respect and innocence. I was not prepared for the evoked memory of myself at that innocent age.
This book collects some of the most beautiful figure studies I've ever seen. I truly hope that you can appreciate it the way it was mean to be seen.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Haugh VINE VOICE on August 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Of the visual arts, I probably enjoy photography more than any. In particular, I love portraiture, which is probably why I like photographers like Jock Sturges and Mary Ellen Mark who excel at this. They are invariably able to find interesting subjects and to photograph them in unique and beautiful ways. I am also fond of the black and white format usually used by Sturges and Mark which keeps the focus on the figures themselves as opposed to something garish they are wearing or the color of their surroundings.
With the photographs in Radiant Identities Sturges seems to be experimenting. Many of my favorite themes in Sturges' work are here. He has "family groups"--sisters, brothers, parents & children. My favorites of these are the "generational" pictures: where we see a child and an adult who mirror each other as if we are seeing the future of the child. But there are also some pictures here that have no similarity with any of his other work. There are surprises.
Of course, Sturges photographs mainly nudes and is probably best known for the controversy surrounding his nude photographs of young girls. There is no denying the erotic power of some of his pictures but Sturges is no pornographer. He is able to capture so much more. The arrangement of the figures tells us something (as in the "generational" pictures) and I am often surprised at how drawn I am to the eyes of his models and to the careful arrangement of the hair. He is an artist of uncommon skill and I would highly recommend this book.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Photopro on March 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is beautiful. All the works are done very well, showing the beauty of youth and family. I was first drawn to Sturges work after looking at photos of David Hamilton. His work is very contoversial. but I ask why? Is a picture of a 13 year old girl shaving her legs in the shower so terrible? The thing is, thats these photos are not about viewing young nude girls reaching puberty, but showing the beautiful changes that we have all gone though in life, men or woman. The people that bash Sturges work are not looking at the photographs close enough. If they did, they would realize that thoughout his albums, the photographs are of adolecents becoming adults. You will find the same model at the beginning of the book at age 8, and by the end of the book there are photos of her at age 16. Get my point. Also I feel that there is a very strong feeling of family bonding in the work of Sturges. So many of his pictures are of families on the beach and other places. Most of them in the nude. And I think that he wants to show how close these families are. Most teens would freak if their parents saw them naked, but here we see how secure, happy, and close these families are with earch other. This is not trash, this is work that very very few people can do. Sturges is very classy about his work. No open legs (if so, it is not staged at all), and with his 8x10 camera, is also able to get beautiful wide angle shots that show more than a nude boy girl or family, but the beautiful beaches and skies that surround them. Don't miss and of Sturges work. Its not worth missing. Open your mind to all forms of art. Get this book. You will rush to by the rest of his works including (the last day of summer, self-titled, and new work)
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Inigo on July 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
After viewing 'Last Days of Summer' I came right back to Amazon to order 'Radiant Identities' (and 'New Work'). Again, I am struck by the power, beauty and serenity of Surges' art.
I'm a photographer myself, therefore obviously interested in the matter, and I have seen many - very different - work by numerous photographers. I'm also rather particular about what I like and don't like, and when I view someone's work usually I find just a few photographs I really like, the rest is often considered 'average' or 'not my taste'. However, this is not the case with Jock Sturges' work. Although I obviously have my favourites, so far I haven't seen a single photograph by Sturges I don't like, or even one that could be described as 'average'. They are all powerful, intriguing and stunningly beautiful.
Sturges doesn't only master the art of photography flawlessly; he actually manages to capture the soul of his subjects. They are real people captured in real life, not professional models who just undressed for the occasion. As explained in the foreword, they are nude anyway, and a photographer coming along doesn't change anything about that. This is their life, their world, their home. Sturges offers us the chance to observe these wonderful people in their natural setting, and we get actually get to know them a little bit (or at least we get that feeling). They are at ease, relaxed, and there is a palpable trust between the photographer and his subjects. He is clearly one of them and fully accepted in their midst.
The back flap tells us that Sturges received (a.o.) a BA in in Perceptual Psychology and Photography. After viewing his work that's no surprise, he clearly deserves it.
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