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Jack Wegener "Fine Art Nudes Photographer" RSS Feed (Savannah, GA USA)

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Colors of the Imagination: Painted Flowers & Nudes
Colors of the Imagination: Painted Flowers & Nudes
by Brigitte Hoy Carnochan
Edition: Paperback
18 used & new from $6.64

2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, and I truly sincerely wish it weren't, July 23, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As I publish this review on Amazon there are no other reviews of this book. There was/is little information on Amazon about this item and so I purchased somewhat blindly in wanting to support a fellow artist.

I shall call this a book but it is actually more of a pamphlet. Extremely thin with not many pages or images. There are 32 total pages and 14 photographs inside the book. The cover photograph adds one to make 15. Nine are floral compositions and six are cropped torsos (all female). The image size of each photograph is rather small at 4 inches by 4 inches square. One photograph per page with the title on a separate page opposite left. In reality, the title could have easily been placed beneath the image on the same page. But then the book would have been REALLY thin at about 16 pages or so. There is a one page text introduction about the artist.

There is no printed price for this book anywhere on the item so apparently it is offered in the spirit of whatever the marketplace will bear; I paid dearly sight unseen.

As background to my qualifications in writing this review: I've been a handcolorist for over twenty-five years specializing in female nudes created from black-and-white film and hand-printed individually in my darkroom before coloring with artist's oils. My work has been exhibited and sold in art galleries and through my website since the 1990's. I'm a proponent of this genre of photography and wanted to support Ms. Carnochan with my purchase. Additionally, I've been a professional photographer of women for over forty years using film and darkroom processes. So this review is coming from someone with some experience.

It pains me to say that there is nothing outstanding about any of these images. They are not memorable to any degree. Before tinting an image to place in a book for public consumption it should probably possess at least a slight degree of interest, or, if possible, that rare quality of uniqueness. These 15 images are competent. It is a strain to see that some of the florals are even tinted. I've never understood why some handcolorists leave so much white in an image when the principle purpose of coloring a black-and-white image is to demonstrate it's actually been colored. But then that's just my approach. (And, modestly, I've been successful in my handcolored work).

If the book contained more images then there would be leeway for some of the mundane images. It's akin to filler songs on a music album, not preferred but sometimes tolerated. You will sometimes get a pass if you present a lot of material and have some not so great work included. But this is a tiny folio of just 15 images counting the cover image. Nothing jumps out to grab your attention. It's as though since handcoloring is a disappearing or dead art that any image that's handcolored will suffice. I know from experience that that is not an approach to take in the art world.

I very much wanted to like this book. I bought a pig in a poke since there were no previous reviews and little information in general on Amazon for this item. I'd heard of Ms. Carnochan before my purchase. But I'd never seen her work in person or in print. I've never communicated with her. I'm deeply sorry if I come across as harsh in my assessment but I'm being honest in my review. I generally do not review items on Amazon that I do not appreciate to some degree. Since there were no previous reviews of this book I felt compelled to write one after my purchase.

Jack Wegener
Savannah, Georgia


Flowers
Flowers
by David Hamilton
Edition: Hardcover
33 used & new from $1.28

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flowers immortalized by photographer David Hamilton, July 21, 2015
This review is from: Flowers (Hardcover)
This is a review of the first U.S. edition from 1990. My first edition appears to differ from the description Amazon is providing for this title. My edition contains no "light classical music" and has more pages than what Amazon states.

Of all the hundreds of photography books I've acquired since the 1970s this remains one of my favorites. It's 120 pages, first published in 1990. The design of the book is simple but effective. There is one photograph per page and on the opposite page to the left is a quotation of poetry. The poets include Keats, Shelley, Shakespeare, Spenser, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Longfellow. There are 56 total photographs, all created with color film.

For most of his career Mr. Hamilton has been a proponent of pictorialism. Many art critics disparage this aesthetic, especially in photography. Without apologies photographer David Hamilton has embraced a soft focus technique to image rendering. This book is testimony to his conviction that photographs should be more aligned to branches of painting as opposed to the sharp focus approach of the f64 movement in photography begun in the late 1920s which more or less sounded the death knell for the pictorialist photographers. Pictorialism had previously been popular and accepted.

There are no hard-edged detailed representations of floral compositions in this book. There are wonderful images of muted colors of flowers that now have long faded, decayed, and disappeared from our world. Mr. Hamilton uses an uncomplicated technique of lighting his subjects with only natural light. The flowers are posed against neutral backgrounds that never upstage or distract from their natural beauty. Some are placed in vases.

There is transitory beauty and melancholy inherent in all living things. Mr. Hamilton recognizes that simplicity can be the best approach to depicting beauty.

Photography has been a debatable art form since its inception in the 1830's. A medium so accessible today to nearly everyone via digital captures makes it even more difficult for some to appreciate sensitivity or an acumen for composition. David Hamilton has pursued his vision of what photography is to him since the early 1970s. His approach is neither wrong nor right. It is an individualistic statement that he unapologetically presents to the world.

If you prefer sharply focused studio representations of still-lifes you will likely not appreciate this book. These images of flowers are more romantically depicted in diffused soft colors lit only by direct or indirect natural sunlight. Mr. Hamilton has offered us a world of simple beauty if we only will take some time to stop and enjoy.

Jack Wegener
Savannah, Georgia


Travels With Van Gogh and the Impressionists: Discovering the Connections (Lin Arison)
Travels With Van Gogh and the Impressionists: Discovering the Connections (Lin Arison)
by Lin Arison
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $41.62
46 used & new from $0.48

3.0 out of 5 stars A nice concept but ultimately disappointing, July 20, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As I compose my review in mid-2015 I make note that there are five previous reviews dating from 2007 and 2008 on Amazon for this book; all five praise it. I purchased my copy based largely on those glowing reviews.

This has proven a difficult book for me to review because I truly wanted to like it and to feel I got my money's worth, so to speak, buying it sight unseen, and influenced by previous reviews I had read on this site. The book is well designed and printed. It is a sumptuous art book. But, ultimately, it's the contents.

The concept, as I understood it, drew me to buy this book. As an artist, I'm always seeking another approach to appreciating one of my favorite periods in art history - French painting in the middle to late nineteenth century. I gathered that the author Lin Aronson would be tracing the steps of some of these painters by visiting the locations they painted and the homes where they lived.

To me, the book seems schizophrenic in its execution. There is text and there is photography. But unfortunately the photography does not always correspond to or complement the text. Mr. Neil Folberg is a talented photographer, without question. It seems though that he is doing his own separate book a lot of the time while Mrs. Aronson is writing her text as she relates her travels following in the painters' footsteps. This separate approach is addressed in the introduction on pages 9 through 13 wherein Lin Aronson and Neil Folberg describe their participation in the completed book.

On page 12 Mr. Folberg states: "From the start of this venture, Lin and I agreed that we would pursue our separate parts of the project independently. She would tell her story in writing and I would tell mine in photographs ..." And that is seemingly what happened. This results in photographs that are often interpretations of the painter's subjects or themes. To me it added absolutely nothing to the text or to the painters' lives. It does showcase the photographer's talent. Yes, he has a good eye and knows how to use a camera but many of the photographs do nothing to reveal the artists' milieu in the late 1800's. It becomes, I'm most sorry to say, a vanity project for the photographer.

Many talented photographers would likely chafe at having to produce only pure documentation in photographs. But, I think, the nature of this book requires that kind of possibly less artistic approach with the accompanying images. For example, I would vastly prefer to see a current photograph of Dr. Gachet's house, which still exists, rather than a pitiable depressed modern man who is photographed to represent a painting by Vincent Van Gogh of the good doctor. I want to see the places the painters actually visited and inhabited. Many of them still exist over a hundred years later so please capture them to illustrate the words I am reading as Mrs. Aronson relates her travels. Far too frequently there are modern photographs of Mr. Folberg's interpretations of Degas's dancers and horse racing or Manet's and Monet's women or Berthe Morisot's subjects. For me, these add nothing to the text. The space could have been better utilized to show photographs of the authentic places where the painters walked and inhabited.

Lin Aronson meets the descendants of Morisot. She gains admittance to the actual house that Morisot and her husband Eugene Manet built. She writes of visiting the house at night and being in the very same room where the illustrious painters Degas, Mallarme, Pissarro, Manet, Monet and others congregated long ago for food and conversation. But there is not a single accompanying photograph of that room. Perhaps the elderly woman inhabiting the house would never grant access to a photographer but there are so many other opportunities to make a photograph that would enhance the text throughout the book yet no such related photograph is included.

On page 107 the author writes about visiting Renoir's final home Les Collettes. But no photographs of it are printed. There is a photograph on page 210 in the artist's studio. Not a wide documentary view but a close-up of a table with brushes and tubes of paint. In the background out of focus one can discern the round wheels of a wheelchair. But without the photographer's notes I believe many people would not understand due to the shallow depth of field of the image that the object is a wheelchair. This shallow depth of field approach is used often in some of the photographs. It is "arty" but does not lend itself well to documentation. But I too late realized that photography documentation is not a prime concern in the book.

One of the few times that Mrs. Aronson and Mr. Folberg seem to be working on the same book is a section about Van Gogh's death. The text describes Vincent's final hours and the photographs show the room where he died and the wooden steps he would have climbed to reach his room in the inn each day. The author states she got the idea for this book when she visited Auvers-sur-Oise but found the studio of Daubigny closed that particular day. So, instead, she strolled around the corner and saw the place where Van Gogh lived and died. It's perhaps possible that the book did begin with some speck of unity between text and photographs but then soon along the way became uncoupled into what it ultimately is. The photographer readily states as much.

I came away from the book feeling disappointed. There was the potential to allow a reader to feel she/he had walked in some of the footsteps of these grand artists - to view the same sites the artists did. That is what the book's title alludes to. The text does a better job of that than do the photographs. The passage of time will destroy more and more of the actual locations the artists visited and painted. While the book is enjoyable, it just left me wishing for something it could have potentially been. I gave it a respectable rating of three stars.

Jack Wegener
Savannah, GA


Naked World
Naked World
DVD ~ Spencer Tunick
Offered by Media Favorites
Price: $19.99
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5.0 out of 5 stars Photography of Nudes on Seven Continents, January 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Naked World (DVD)
The documentary begins with a brief look at Mr. Tunick on a sidewalk in 1993 photographing four nude models. Then there is footage of him with a larger nude group
in the street in 1999 being arrested in New York City.

Disgusted with being treated like a criminal in New York, Spencer conceives a Nudes Adrift project whereby he'll photograph on seven continents and remove himself
from the USA for a time. It's a one-year project encompassing both single portrait work and the larger group installations he's now primarily identified with.

His first stop is Montreal. There he obtains a large crowd of 2100 people to pose at an outdoor installation. This is the first time he's worked with over 1000 people. He's grateful for being in Canada because he is treated as an artist which is a far cry
from how he'd been treated in New York with an arrest for basically doing the same type of public venue. One can imagine his feeling of vindication being outside
of the USA at this moment.

Apparently, the film is not strictly in chronological order. The next stop shown is London and in the
commentary track it is revealed this is two weeks after 9/11/2001. In the film after England they are in Ireland and in commentary Spencer states he was photographing a woman there when 9/11 happened. Not sure why this juxtaposition was done in the film. And
Mr. Tunick says in the commentary track that he visited about thirty countries. The documentary
shows him in about ten countries. The director/producer Arlene Donnelly Nelson says she shot about 250 hours of film. So one can see how much has been edited for this 76 minute film.

Compared to a previous documentary, Naked States, Mr. Tunick seems to be more relaxed here. There is still, of course, stress in traveling and organizing each photography session but he seems more assured of his success. Though toward the end of the film while in
Sao Paolo for the bienal he is heard wondering aloud if he'll make a profit after his journey. But in the commentary portion (done later) he states that his work is selling so he can afford to pay his rent. In Sao Paola his art dealer tries to reassure him by saying it's the prestige of the venue, not the profit.

Projects like Nudes Adrift are not easy to do successfully. This documentary gives a condensed view of the process. We watch Spencer and his now wife Krissy Bowler moving around the world pursuing a vision. Not every photography session is satisfying
with the end results. In the commentary track Mr. Tunick laments at times about how the public sees his failures with ideas that later don't seem to be so great great as originally conceived. He mentions an artist needing to keep an air of mystery around his work and how a documentary crew following him can be too revealing at times. But a documentary film can also show the artist things that he'd otherwise miss such as some of the participants in the large installations speaking of their feelings having been a part of the work. Spencer concedes there is good and bad derived from the documentary film process.

If someone is merely wanting to see unclothed people then this film has that. But I think any serious artist would be interested in seeing another artist at work and hear his thoughts about his work. There is an exchange on the ship in Antarctica between Spencer and his friend Chris that is informative. After Spencer has
photographed Krissy on land amid penguins and ice he is
confronted by Chris asking, "How can you make it look different if it's just in front of a bunch of penguins? I mean, anyone can take that shot." Spencer answers: "You just have to take what you get. That's what makes a difference - the fact that I'm taking it and I have a specific project and there's probably a hundred people that could take a better photograph than me, but they're not doing my specific project. It's about a documentation of an event. I'm not trying to create the world's best nude in Antarctica photograph that has never been tried before." Chris
persists stating, "But if it's going to hang in a gallery you want it to look to have some sort of artistic value." Spencer replies, "They don't have to be good photographs." Chris asks, "Would you want them to be good?" And Spencer says, "Sometimes when you're taking good photographs, it's not really good. I want them to be good as a whole."

The dvd special features include a sparse still photograph gallery of ten images, and a seven minute film of a 2003 group installation in Grand Central Station. The participants are all female and there is
barely any audio except for the crowd noises as they arrive, pose, and depart.

This documentary shows yet another stage in Mr. Tunick's rise in the art world. The events shown are
now at least eleven years old. As he said after the harassment in New York - he wanted to move beyond a feeling of criminal or street urchin of art. Leaving the USA for a time seemed inevitable after five arrests. But the hostility he experienced in New York is not only an American occurrence. In Paris, for example, he did not receive a very warm welcome. It's sad at times but also illuminating to witness the reactions people have toward the human body all across the world. It's naturally obvious that everybody has a body. But so many people have difficulty coming to terms with that basic fact. This film does not explore
the complexity of reactions, but just in showing so many various types of bodies and shades and skin textures it might help to make people who have negative connotations about nudity begin to realize that all of us are basically the same.

Without the commentary track I would have rated this dvd less than five stars. The film feels short and a bit rushed. After all, the project involved a trip around the world. Ms. Nelson stated she had 250 hours of film to edit. The length of the final film with end credits is around 76:30 minutes. The commentary with her and Mr. Tunick fills in some holes that are
apparent in the documentary itself. I admire Mr. Tunick for following a vision and having the persistence to see things to a conclusion. It is good to hear him speak about his work both in the film and on the commentary track. I think that some of the work he's done that he's dismissive of now will perhaps gain more value in his eyes as he gets older and the work has receded even further into the past. This film captures him in his thirties imbued with confidence. He has a lot of people helping him. He could never have done all of this totally alone. As the
installations grew in size it is evident how he needed others to assist him in all of the variables involved. This film shows some of that support network. He appears grateful for everyone's assistance (although he is a bit miffed with the organizers for the Cuttysark installation). It is his name people will remember and although he's described by some as egotistical he does not come across here as such. But it does require a strong ego to become a successful artist. He states he becomes depressed when he's personally turned down by someone he has approached
asking them to pose. That is a clear indication of the sensitivity innate to most artists. He's not trying to
make them look bad or to demean them in any way by asking them to be a part of his work. And he takes their rejection to heart. There is a brief scene in Paris where he approaches two women at an outdoor cafe and they dismiss him. On camera he says they are rude or wonders if perhaps he is rude for trying to ask. He says he thinks they consider him "a loser." This one
scene encapsulates what many artists endure daily. Artists constantly face rejection on various levels.

Arlene Donnelly Nelson does a superb job capturing the events and working with the lighting she had. She and
Spencer Tunick work well together as a team. And, as I said, their commentary track is informative and much appreciated.

Jack Wegener
Savannah, GA


Naked States
Naked States
DVD ~ Spencer Tunick
13 used & new from $12.18

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Asian Porn Rings, December 31, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Naked States (DVD)
When Spencer Tunick arrives in North Dakota he enters a shop seeking
models for the next day. He encounters a pleasant woman named Teri
and she appears willing to pose but displays a slight hesitancy saying
she'll think about it and will let him know when he calls her later that
night. She then sits at a table with a male and female friend. The male
questions why she would consider posing nude. He says, "Aren't you afraid
that he might, like, take the photos and sell them to some, like, Asian porn rings?"

That remark and viewpoint, either flippant or well-considered, typify a
large percentage of the American public. A sad comment on not being able
to see a human body as something we all have without equating it to the
word "porn". A little later in South Dakota at the Sturgis bike rally Mr.
Tunick is cursed at and insulted by a man after his female friend is
politely asked by Spencer to pose nude.

This documentary captures the ending of twentieth century America with a
photographer and his crew traveling across the United States photographing
at least one nude person in each state. Not all of the states are shown but
Mr. Tunick did work in each state on his odyssey. When the cross-country
project begins he is relatively unknown and at the end of the documentary
where he has an art gallery show about a year after his travels ended he is
more widely known to the public thanks to the exhibition and the notice of
various publications.

The film opens with his arrest in Times Square while photographing a
large group of nude citizens in the street. His attorney, Ron Kuby, states
that he has to go to trial rather than just plead guilty or pay a fine. This is
important. Mr. Tunick will be arrested multiple times pursuing his art
involving nudity in public. In ensuing years he has become a hero to us
photographers who sometimes photograph nudes in public. His battles
don't grant everybody carte blanche to be nude everywhere in the USA
but they do represent a voice for First Amendment freedom of expression.
Had he backed down and paid a fine it would have made it easier for much
more harassment than what he has had to endure.

My rating for this dvd is four stars. It does not delve into the
inspiration or motivation for the idea to travel to every state in the
United States with the goal of photographing at least one nude
person in each state. The logistics involved with getting a crew
together to pursue that goal are not revealed. It doesn't go into any
details about how Mr. Tunick began photography and when he first
gravitated to the nude in public, although in a filmed fragment while
on the road he states that there are a million photographers photographing
nudes in nature amid forests and beaches and parks. To distinguish
himself from them he has chosen the pavement. But when and how
did he come to that decision? Mr. Tunick comes from a long line of
professional photographers but this is never indicated.

I first became aware of Spencer Tunick around 1993 when a model
gave me a vhs tape she'd made of an HBO episode of Real Sex. The
segment entitled "Naked City" depicted Spencer photographing three
or four people on the streets of New York City. At that time there was
nothing that told of his decision to do urban nudes. And in this
documentary there is little that really goes much beyond the superficial
events on the road as the tour goes on. I'm not sure the film even states
that this tour is being done in 1997. In the intervening years when and
why did he become more dedicated to obtaining larger and larger
groups of people at one time? What does he feel about the generous
volunteers who pose for him? Perhaps only another photographer might
care about such information. I'm interested in hearing about his evolution
as an artist and if it were he or someone else who first had the idea to travel
to all fifty states at one time doing the photography over many months.

All of the comments heard spoken by Mr. Tunick are in real time while
he is on the road or after the opening of his exhibition the following year.
It would have been interesting to have him sit in a studio after the exhibition
had run its course and give his impressions about the USA trek and the
reaction to his work on gallery walls. We are never shown that. We are
only mostly shown him on the road where, I'd imagine, there was some
nervousness, doubt, pressure, hesitation, anxiety about the day-to-day
life he was experiencing wanting to create but facing problems along the way.

At the conclusion of this documentary I still don't know if Mr. Tunick
did any of the actual printing for his I-20 gallery exhibition. The film
shows him carrying a smaller print in a tray from a darkroom and then
the unrolling and washing of a much larger exhibition print. But nothing
is indicated about whether he did any of the printing or was "hands on"
in anything that appeared later on the walls of the gallery. There is a brief
wordless segment of him dust spotting a large print.

It may sound that I'm negative because of what was omitted from
the film but I thoroughly enjoyed watching another photographer at
work. I've been photographing nudes professionally using
black-and-white film since 1975 so my review carries that bias. It
was a joy to see Mr. Tunick early on talking about the art magazines
while standing near a magazine rack in a store. Then at the very end
he was finally getting their attention. He achieved something no one
else had with his odyssey across America. For me, there were just
not many "behind the scenes" revelations about him and the crew he
needed to assemble to make possible what he accomplished. But I
suspect for more broad appeal such information had to be left out
thinking it might prove boring to a general public.

The documentary allows some of the model participants to talk
about their experience. All have positive things to say about it. And
that will bring me back to the guy in Fargo who did not pose but
whose friend did. Upon the mere mention of photography involving
nudity his mind went to the words "Asian porn". What does that reveal
about a culture?

If it is only nude bodies one wishes to see then there are many to see.
in this film. Before purchasing this dvd I read one review on IMDB that
stated this film maybe should be rated NC-17. And that is preposterous.
But it again sadly reflects an attitude people have with simple male and
female nudity.

There is an extra feature about 14 minutes in length that shows a
session in Strawberry Fields in New York City. The printed title at
the beginning states the date as September 8, 2000 but in addressing
the assembled volunteers Spencer states "Tomorrow is John Lennon's
birthday" which indicates the month is actually October rather than
September. It's a chilly morning and the participants are shown
arriving, then undressing, and posing in the park and then across the
street. I enjoyed this segment because it encapsulated the quickness of
these public installations.

Viewing this documentary one sees life on the road and a glimpse
of Spencer Tunick on the cusp of his fame. If the film were longer
perhaps a more fully developed portrait of him would emerge. The film
leaves a lot unsaid regarding his thoughts about photography and also
about the contributions of the people who participate in his work. We
never hear him speak about freedom of expression and why he is willing
to be arrested for his beliefs.

Models are all important to any photographer who works with nudes.
I assume that Spencer appreciates and respects all his volunteers (well,
with the possible exception of the nudists at Sandy Hook) but this film
fails to show him expressing a debt of gratitude he owes to them beyond
the obligatory "Thank you" at the end of a session. At the Phish concert
he seemed consumed with getting a large number of people. And despite
his doubts and complaints he achieved a large number. It's a cold day in
Central Park with many people participating. Breakfast and a print are
sometimes mentioned as compensation but he is never shown sitting down
speaking to the camera about where he would be without all of these people.
(And as his career has progressed multitudes have been vital). For me, a
more satisfying ending for the film would have been an in-depth interview
following the I-20 gallery exhibition. Allow Mr. Tunick to reflect on the
road tour and tell the viewer how he started in photography. Ask him about
his thoughts concerning freedom of expression and the people who pose for
him. And the technical side of his work - does he develop his film and make
the prints by himself? What are the logistics of making sure each model
receives her/his promised photograph? Perhaps actually show one or two
people receiving the photograph for participating and their reaction. Well,
that would be my film, but this one is good and holds your attention.

Spencer Tunick is to be applauded. As a young man he had a vision
and pursued it. He assembled a crew to assist him plus obtained
a film crew to document him at work. As he said to his girlfriend
Krissy at one point when she was tiring of the experience amid the
hostility and machismo in South Dakota, "this is what I do for a
living, it's my life." Artists everywhere recognize this statement
and commitment. Mr. Tunick along with Arlene Donnelly have held
a mirror up to American society at the end of the twentieth century.

Jack Wegener
Savannah, Georgia


Mr Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream
Mr Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream
by Steven Watts
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $23.72
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Author never asked me to proofread before publishing, December 30, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
There are myriad ways to live a life; Hugh Marston Hefner chose
one. The people who condemn his choice and criticize him as a
human being lack awareness. They are quick to pass judgment,
as though their choices for living are the ideal. It is so easy to
condemn - to sit in judgment of a fellow human who merely sought
to find the things that produced happiness and contentment for
himself. His choices may conflict with yours but he never forced
anyone to participate in his choices. He had a dream that with
hard effort he manifested. He followed what he believed to be true
for himself. He never badgered or coerced anyone to participate in
his dream. It's pure arrogance from some people who post
disparaging reviews on this site vilifying Mr. Hefner for the
choices he made for his life.

The author Steven Watts sets out to place Hugh Hefner in the
context of the last half of the American twentieth century. To do this
he has to also describe what preceded those decades in America. He
takes us back to Victorian times to reveal the repressive and limiting
customs many Americans adopted and passed on to subsequent generations.
We then follow Hugh Hefner from his birth in 1926 up to about 2007 where
the book ends. It's a long history of not only Mr. Hefner but also of America.

Mr. Watts presents a selected history of the culture of America from
the late19th century into the early 21st century as he speaks of Hugh
Hefner. The main section of the book comprises 454 pages. The notes
section occupies another 59 pages. From the notes section one can
discern that Mr. Watts did do research. Some of his conclusions, he
states, did go against Mr. Hefner's view of things. He makes his point
and allows Hugh Hefner to make his. This merely illustrates that much
history is about perception.

The book is a sweeping panorama of life in America. And among
all of the events is one man pursuing his dreams. Mr. Hefner is shown
to be a man with a conscience. He stands up for racial equality when
that stance was not popular. He fights censorship and advocates first
amendment rights of freedom of expression. He challenges laws on the
books that imprison people for various sexual acts. He is for individual
expression and entrepreneurial endeavors. He speaks out for homosexual
rights. And, contrary still to some public perception, supports women's
rights and liberation from the sexist environment in which he grew up.
He starts a foundation to support his beliefs and to offer assistance to
those deserving of help. Over the decades he evolves as a man and a thinker.

Whether people embrace it or curse it, there was indeed a sexual
revolution in America in the last part of the twentieth century. Two
large factors in that revolution were the birth control pill and Playboy
magazine. Mr. Hefner had convictions that propelled him to become
a significant contributor to the lessening of repression in American
society. This book chronicles his activity and the problems he
encountered as he stood up for what he believed to be right. Not all men
or women are that strong to follow their dreams and beliefs and to fight
where necessary to prevail. It takes courage and fortitude to go against
a prevailing opinion. To risk everything for what you believe in.

Mr. Watts cites many obstacles Mr. Hefner faced as he published his
magazine. He provides background on the various historical periods
in America as Mr. Hefner moves through them. At the end we emerge
with an understanding of what America promises its citizens. It is a
land of liberty. You can make dreams come true here.

Admittedly, my title line is for attention. It disturbs me to some
degree when I read a book and find glaring errors of fact. A lot of
life is subjective but there are some things that are easily proven
and when an author overlooks them it causes, in me, a slight degree
of doubt for everything he is offering. Mr. Watts presents three
pages of acknowledgements but apparently none of those people
noticed the errors in the manuscript that I easily discovered in
reading his book.

On page 221 of Mr. Playboy the author states: "By early 1967, at
age forty-two ..." But in early 1967 Hugh Hefner was age forty
having been born on April 9, 1926.

On page 351 the author states: "... brought the Playboy Interview: John
Lennon and Yoko Ono - it appeared on the newsstands the night the
former Beatle was killed in 1981 ..." But John Lennon was (senselessly)
murdered on December 8, 1980. (The date of the Playboy magazine in
which the interview appeared is January 1981). Following page 118 there
is a section of unnumbered pages of photographs. The caption for one of those
pictures states: "The youthful editor at his desk during the early days of Playboy
in 1954" In the foreground is a stack of magazines with an issue of Playboy
on the top. That particular issue is a May 1955 Playboy. Therefore, the
author's 1954 date is in error.

Small points? Yes, perhaps. I did not do any research for this book
and I've never met or talked to Hugh Hefner. These are things I
noticed that were erroneous and therefore could contribute to some
doubt about other facts in the book I'm unaware of.

A few things that I would have liked to have read are more information
on the relationship of Mr. Hefner and his first son David. There is little
mention of David. Their relationship would provide more insight as to
the father Hugh Hefner is. Perhaps in interviews he declined to speak
about his son; perhaps the author never asked. Hugh Hefner's father,
Glenn, died in 1976; this is not cited. In fact, there is little told about
the relationship he had with his father. I have a documentary film
where Barbi Benton speaking of the death of Hefner's father says
that his father never acknowledged the accomplishments of his son.
Mr. Watts references a lot of the editorial staff of Playboy magazine,
especially Art Paul, Auguste Spectorsky, and Arthur Kretchmer. But
when it comes to the photography department only Vince Tajiri receives
some notice. The photography of women has been a defining part of
Playboy's history. A few words either from or about some of these
talented artists would have helped further explain the success of the
magazine. Hefner did not create the photographs but he hired these
photographers and edited their work. They interpreted his vision.

My criticisms of this book are few. Steven Watts did an excellent job
describing a part of American history. It's a broad history with its
center being Hugh Hefner. It addresses ambition and materialism and
sexual freedom and determination and repression and morality and tradition
and rebellion and religion and conviction and dreams and reality and
culture and establishment and sexism and affluence and liberation and
first amendment and politics and art and discrimination and perception.

Hugh Hefner seized life and molded it to what he wanted it to be.
Not everyone does that. I think he should be celebrated as a
consummate individual. You do not have to agree with all of his
choices or even respect him as a person (but I do). Just recognize
and applaud the fact that he did not settle. He pursued his dreams
and vision and made his life what he wanted it to be.

Jack Wegener
Savannah, GA


Good Sense Sunflower Nuts,  Roasted No Salt, 8-Ounce (Pack of 12)
Good Sense Sunflower Nuts, Roasted No Salt, 8-Ounce (Pack of 12)
Price: $26.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Sunflower nuts from Good Sense, December 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a fine product. It's nutritious and reasonably priced. I'm a
vegetarian and have been eating this particular brand for several
years. The nuts I've received from Amazon's site have always
been fresh and crunchy. At around sixteen to seventeen dollars
per box of 12 bags I consider it a worthwhile purchase

There are approximately 7 servings per bag. The nuts provide
6 grams of protein per serving (1/4 cup). The sodium is 130 mg
per serving and total fat is 15 grams per serving.

I'm dismayed that for many months this product is no longer
available from Amazon. I would like to see it offered here again.

Jack Wegener
Savannah, GA


Naked Happy Girls, Vol. 4: San Francisco Treats
Naked Happy Girls, Vol. 4: San Francisco Treats
DVD ~ Artist Not Provided
2 used & new from $15.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Women posing nude in their environment, August 15, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Please allow me to preface my review with stating that I have been a
professional photographer of the nude since 1975. This background
has an influence on my review of this dvd.

As someone who has never subscribed to the Playboy channel, this
series was unknown to me before I came across this dvd on Amazon.
The premise intrigued me and I purchased this title.

"San Francisco Treats" consists of six episodes generally featuring
two individual women per episode. The exceptions are a lesbian
couple in A Gay Old Time and a heterosexual couple in Anything
Goes.

The location is the San Francisco Bay area. The episode titles are:

I. A Gay Old Time
II. Art for Art's Sake
III. Anything Goes
IV. A State of Mind
V. Girl Power
VI. Up Town, Down Town

Andrew Einhorn, a photographer based in New York City, travels to
the San Francisco Bay Area in search of candidates for his photography
books and videos of "everyday"women in natural environments. The
series shows Mr. Einhorn approaching various women in public asking
if they would like to be a part of his photography. We are shown the
rejections and acceptances.from the women he asks to pose for him.

As any photographer knows, the simplest way to locate willing,
non-professional models is when one contacts you by e-mail. Such
is the case with Sandra, age 23, in episode IV. Hers is one of my
favorite segments. Another is Tia who answers a local online ad
Andrew posts in episode V. And Tia is also a favorite segment.

As a photographer who has worked with non-professional models
for about forty years, I enjoyed this dvd but I'm uncertain others
would enjoy it as much. If nudity is all that one is interested in
there are probably myriad videos that are more abundant and
explicit than what is presented here - and women who are more
the stereotypical model for mens' magazines or adult videos (I
have practically no knowledge of the latter). I vastly prefer the
"everyday" natural woman who is not overly made up, surgically
enhanced, or augmented with tattoos and body piercings (other than
ears). Although "San Francisco Treats" features more women than I
would prefer who are tattooed or pierced, the settings and their
exuberance for the photography project makes the body art tolerable
(for me). It depicts one photographer's quest to produce material for his
books and website. We are shown the model-photographer collaboration.
We not only see but also hear from both sides the thoughts that
enter into this creative process.

Mr. Einhorn's personality is pleasant and charming. I respect that
he shows the rejection he encounters as he approaches strangers in
public asking them to pose nude. What I fail to understand is his
occasional persistence with someone after she initially tells him NO.
Those of us who have sought non-professional models over decades
quickly learn about rejection and let it drop fast when it occurs. It's
futile to pursue the matter with anyone who says she's not interested.
Perhaps he is only playing to the camera when he persists. He has
talent as a photographer and really does not need to do it.

In addition to the women posing, the dvd includes some history and
scenic information about the area.. As someone who lived in San
Francisco in the late 1970s, I find this enjoyable. There is a sense
of place, and one can get an idea about a specific woman as she
inhabits this environment.

The dvd case states the total running time is 156 minutes. That is probably
accurate although I did not time each episode. Therefore, there is a lot
of viewing time for the purchase price. That has been a factor in my
overall rating.

This type of video appeals to me due solely to my profession as a
fine-art photographer. I've spent decades working with "ordinary"
women creating nude photographs. My style is not "Playboyesque"
or explicit. Andrew Einhorn is depicting similar women who likely
have no aspirations to ever be a professional model. Again, my history
plays a significant part in my assigning this dvd the highest rating. I
hasten to caution that some people will likely not enjoy this dvd if
they are expecting retouched, plastic dreamgirls with elaborate sets
that Playboy has popularized.

My dvd was purchased new in 2011 at a total price near $6.00. I believe
I received good value for my dollars. The highlights for me on this dvd,
other than the travelogue information for the SF Bay Area, are the segments
with Haleigh on Baker Beach, Sandra in a beautiful house and property in Mill
Valley, Tia in her apartment, Lisa in her family's mansion on Nob Hill, and
Vanessa in the hotel where she works.

Each subject appears comfortable with her nudity. That is appreciated
because they are all novice models and there is a film crew present in addition
to Mr. Einhorn. I applaud work like this that celebrates the inherent sexiness
of women without the necessity of elaborate locations or makeup or styling.
These are real women seizing and enjoying an opportunity to reveal
their bodies and individual personalities to the public.

Since I've been taken to task privately for my seemingly
non-acceptance of tattoos and/or piercings let me in closing state
that I'm a fine art photographer who specializes in handcolored
nudes created with black-and-white film. I'm a traditionalist in
that I still work with film and use a wet process darkroom. I do
not utilize Photoshop or other software. I individually handcolor
my black-and-white nudes/portraiture using artist's oils and pencils.
And I do not color other people's artwork - ie. tattoos. It's a
personal preference and I prefer that a model be a "clean canvas"
if I attempt to create a handcolored image of her on photographic paper.
The women Mr. Einhorn has chosen to photograph are all beautiful.
But some have more artistic appeal to me than others. I admire every
woman who appears in this dvd. I recommend this dvd to anyone who
appreciates women.

Jack Wegener
Savannah, GA


Playboy: Naked Happy Girls, Vol. 3: California Girls
Playboy: Naked Happy Girls, Vol. 3: California Girls
DVD ~ Artist Not Provided
Offered by Phase 3, LLC
Price: $8.57
4 used & new from $3.65

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Women posing nude in their environment, January 12, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Please allow me to state that I have been a professional photographer
of women since 1975. This background does influence my review of
this dvd.

As someone who has never subscribed to the Playboy channel, this
series was unknown to me before I came across the dvds on Amazon.
The premise intrigued me and I purchased this title.

"California Girls" consists of six episodes featuring two women per episode.
The location is the San Francisco area. The episode titles are:

I. California Girls
II. Sex and the City
III. San Francisco Treats
IV. Count me In!
V. The Beat Goes On
VI. Bon (or Buon) Appetito

Andrew Einhorn, a photographer based in New York City, travels to
the San Francisco Bay Area in search of candidates for his photography
books of "everyday" women in natural environments. Along for the
journey is a film crew. The series shows Mr. Einhorn approaching
various women in public to ask if they would like to be a part of
his photography. We are shown the rejections and the acceptances.
Of course, as any photographer knows, the simplest way to find
willing models is when one contacts you by e-mail. Such is the
case with Ruby, age 22, in episode VI. For me, Ruby's personality
and physical appearance justify owning this dvd. She is delightful.

As a photographer who has worked with non-professional models
for nearly forty years, I enjoyed this dvd. I'm not certain others
would enjoy it as much. If nudity is all that one is interested in
there are probably countless videos that are more abundant and
explicit than what is presented here - and women who are more
the stereotypical model for mens' magazines or adult videos (I
have practically no knowledge of the latter). I prefer the "everyday"
natural woman who is not glammed up, surgically enhanced, or
covered with tattoos and body piercings (other than ears). Though
Naked Happy Girls California Girls features more women than I
would want who are tattooed and pierced, the settings and their
exuberance for the photography project makes the body art tolerable
(for me). It depicts one photographer's quest to produce material for
his books. And it requires both a model and a photographer in that quest.

Mr. Einhorn's personality is pleasant and likeable. I respect that
he reveals the rejection he faces as he approaches strangers in
public asking them to pose nude. What I fail to understand is his
sometimes persistence with a woman after she initially tells him NO.
Those of us who have sought models for decades quickly learn
rejection and let it go fast when it occurs. It is futile to pursue the
matter with anyone who says she's not interested. When Mr. Einhorn
persists with one woman on the street she says "Get away from me,
I don't do that." That is not how a professional photographer should
behave when asking someone if she would like to model for him. And
I hope with maturity and experience that Mr. Einhorn learns to take the
first "no" as a final answer (or perhaps it's all merely done for the
camera crew's capturing of the encounter). Either way, it is bad form.

In addition to the women modeling, the dvd includes some history and
scenic information about the area at the beginning of each model's segment.
As someone who lived in San Francisco in the late 1970s, I find this enjoyable.
There is a sense of place, and one can get an idea about a specific woman
inhabiting this environment.

The dvd box states the total running time is 156 minutes. That is probably
accurate although I did not time each episode. Therefore, there is a lot
of viewing time for the purchase price. That factors into my overall rating.

This is a type of video that appeals to me due solely to my profession as a
fine-art photographer. I've spent decades working with "ordinary" women
creating photographs. My style is not "Playboyesque" or pinup glamour. Andrew
Einhorn is depicting similar women who likely have no aspirations to ever be
a professional model. Therefore, my background plays a significant part in my
assigning this dvd the highest rating. I hasten to caution that many people will
not enjoy this dvd if they are expecting retouched, plastic dreamgirls with
elaborate sets that Playboy has popularized.

I purchased my dvd in 2011 at a price below the original retail listed price.
I believe I got good value for my dollars. The highlights for me on this dvd,
other than the travelogue information on the SF Bay Area, are the segments
with Malisia, age 29, in her apartment, Xiang Hua, age 21, in her
apartment, Ruby, age 22, in a vineyard, Christine, age 21, in a restaurant.

All twelve women in this dvd are comfortable with their nudity and to
varying degrees are playful and fun. Andrew Einhorn creates a relaxed
atmosphere for his models to be themselves. And with an accompanying
film crew that is certainly not an easy task. I applaud work like this
that celebrates the inherent sexiness of women without elaborate
locations or makeup or styling. These are actual women enjoying the
opportunity to reveal their bodies and beauty to the public.

Jack Wegener
Savannah, GA
[...]


Playboy - Women of Wal-Mart
Playboy - Women of Wal-Mart
DVD ~ Suzan Battaglia
Offered by newbury_comics
Price: $10.62
18 used & new from $2.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Women sharing their beauty, January 12, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Playboy - Women of Wal-Mart (DVD)
Please allow me to state that I have been a professional photographer
of women since 1975. This background does influence my review of
this dvd.

The main feature with end credits is approximately 49 minutes in length
and contains individual segments with seven Wal-Mart employees:

Elizabeth Beanblossom (Colorado Springs, CO)
Tesha Mullen (Lancaster, CA)
Deborah Moss (Bozeman, MT)
Suzan Battaglia (Hamburg, NY)
Kathryn McKee (Bridgeview, IL)
Tiffany Stephens (Spring Hill, FL)
Kristi Jones (Sterling, IL)

Each woman talks about herself and is shown in her daily environment. We
are shown that each is a "normal" woman who due to her association with
Wal-Mart is presented an opportunity to be in Playboy Magazine and this
video. Most express genuine amazement that this has happened to them.
From the amount of interview information and voice overs one genuinely
gains a reasonable perspective on each woman's personality. None of these
women are objectified as is often one of the closed-minded accusations
hurled at Playboy.

Something for me to appreciate about this dvd is that none of the women
are professional models. Posing nude is not a commonplace occurrence.
It takes courage to walk into a Playboy studio and bare one's body to
a group of strangers. For that alone I applaud their bravery.

All seven women are attractive. The hair and makeup skills that Playboy
is renowned for is evident in each woman's transformation. I enjoy seeing
the behind-the-scenes footage and the actual photography session with each
woman taking direction from her photographer. Others may find this boring.

With slight hesitation to proclaim a standout model in this production, I
will state that Tesha Mullen would be my personal choice of an art model
were I ever allowed to have such choice. And I think Playboy might think
she too was their favorite amongst the seven because not only did they
select her for the dvd cover but had senior photographer Stephen Wayda
photograph her in the dvd. She is the only one of the seven that Mr.
Wayda worked with in this dvd. Of the seven women, she is, to me, the
most memorable.

My second selection for an art model would be Kristi Jones who is
very photogenic. Her absence of tattoos or piercings makes her
simply an ideal natural woman (to my eyes anyway). She is slender
and seemingly unaware of the beauty she possesses.

The notable moment for me is during the nude studio segment with Deborah
Moss when the photographer asks her to turn around to show the back
of her body. She momentarily hesitates. Her voice over narration has her
stating that she is "self-conscious" about her "butt and thighs". As she
turns her back to the camera one has to wonder how in the world did
she ever get such an idea. Her derriere is incredibly beautiful - as is
her entire backview. This scene speaks volumes about how some women
fail to recognize their own beauty.

For me, part of the charm of Women of Wal-Mart is that all of the women
are ones you might see walking down a street in any town. They don't
appear overly glamorous in street clothes and they don't project a superior
attitude that they are somehow special. But I think each of these seven is
special because each shared her feminine beauty with the world. A lot of
women will never do that. They may want to but are too fearful to do so.

The Special Features include:

Playboy Music Clips - These are individual segments of each of the seven
women posing in the studio as generic music plays. The length of each
varies from about 2 minutes to almost 3 minutes.

Candid Interviews - Each woman answers various questions while seated.
The length varies from almost 1½ minutes to about 4 minutes per woman.

Photo Gallery - There is a total of 42 still images of all seven women.

I do not own a vast quantity of Playboy dvds but I'm familiar with the
"Playboy style" from the magazine, the special edition issues, and the
books. I hesitate to recommend Women of Wal-Mart to the person expecting
a centerfold-type result. If one is seeking a slick, almost overly
polished, production that Playboy is capable of rendering it won't
necessarily be found in Women of Wal-Mart. It is for that reason that
I personally like this dvd.

In assigning a rating I also consider value for money. I subtracted one
star primarily due to the brevity of the main feature. I never pay retail
price for any dvd and I purchased my disc in 2010 at a price much lower
than the original list price. Given the original retail price, I feel that
Playboy could have made it an hour long and added another Wal-Mart
employee. The extras are nice - and appreciated - and do contribute
to my rating of four stars.

Jack Wegener
Savannah, GA


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