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Jock Sturges: Notes Hardcover – June 15, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


""When Jock Sturges first started to make pictures of my family, we immediately realized that these moments meant much more for all of us than merely producing good photography. Being part of Jock's photographic project has everything to do with first of all becoming part of his family."

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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Aperture; First Edition edition (June 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931788472
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931788472
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.6 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,272,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those who are simply wanting a collection of large Sturges photographs, this will not fill the bill. For those who are interested in Jock Sturges, the person, and some background on his models this is the one to get. You get some background into his process and how he goes about his work. There is a collection of Polaroid shots he uses in formulating his approach to the picture. You are then treated to a wonderful selection of B&W images, most taken in 2003 with a few from 2000 and 2001. Several of the pictures have comments by the model. For several of his models, there is an update of their lives as they were photographed as they grew older. There is reference to the sheer work involved in processing and printing his photographs, but I felt it was greatly understated; dealing with an 8 x 10 negative format camera and film is not a trivial task, but the results are fantastic. Nor is getting the lighting just right on the beaches easy, but the use of light and shadow in his prints shows he makes it look easy. The latter part of the book touches upon his newer work in fashion photography. Misty Dawn nee Johnson has quite a few pages to express her thoughts on her long association with Jock. The dimensions of the book are not large, but it is put out by Aperture, which stands for high quality in printing works of photography.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is quite different from any book of Sturges' I've seen before. At first the main thing to notice is that it is smaller in size and shorter on complete images. But it seems that Sturges is trying to create a more intimate feel in this book and, in that, he succeeds. Because his purpose in this book is more than presenting his photographs.

The title of this book is Notes for a reason. In it, we find considerably more text than we usually do in a Sturges book and it is not confined to forewords and afterwards. There are, in fact, "notes" interspersed throughout the photographs. Many of the notes are by Sturges himself though there are a number by his models. The point of these (as well as a number of Polaroid photos) is to give us some insight into how Sturges works, how he develops his concepts and final images. And they do do that to some extent though, if the truth be told, the workings of composing a beautiful portrait remains a mystery. Still, it's an interesting attempt.

On the other hand, I found the notes by the models quite interesting. Many of the models have worked with Sturges for over 20 years and have grown up with him as part of their lives. The word "family" is used a number of times. This may or may not be true but it is intriguing to hear the different voices of the models in their prose. When they talk about the photos in which they appear, it often gives the impression of those photos speaking in a new voice. It gives these portraits a different flavor.

But I am ignoring the fact that this book is also, if not mainly, a book of photography. To be honest, I would have bought this book for the photo on the cover alone. Fortunately, there is more of Sturges' wonderful portrait work on the inside.
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Format: Hardcover
Photographer Jock Sturges and publishing house/gallery Aperture have collaborated again [The Last Day of Summer 1993, Radiant Identities 1995] to bring us this fabulous new book 'Notes'. Here, as with the previous titles, Sturges' work is beautifully reproduced, 50 single black and white page, one single colour page, the cover photograph and numerous other colour polaroid and digital images scattered throughout the book. But for the first time in addition to the work we are given a glimpse, through statements and comments made by Jock and his subjects, into the working process and to the effect that being photographed by Jock has on the people that appear in his work. These commentaries are rich and rewarding. They open the door a little wider and more light comes flooding out. I have been collecting Jock's photographs and books for over a decade but I think that this book brings me closer to the experience of 'being there' than any of the other, Aperture, Scalo or Gakken titles. Except for one beautiful image of Celie from 1999 all of the work represented in this volume covers the period 2000-2003. Other 'fans' and collectors might be disappointed to find that there are only three images of Misty Dawn and only one of Fanny. Perhaps with the publication of this book Sturges and Aperture are marking the start of a new chapter in the development of the photographers' career. The reproductions themselves are richer and closer to the luxurient tones of the original prints. The binding is very nice too, no dust sleeve just a print directly onto the hard cover. The technicians and printers at Aperture have done a really good job.
Jock's world is the world of the naturist, those people who feel relaxed and comfortable being naked in situations where other people might feel shy or embarressed.
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Format: Hardcover
Jock Sturges' latest book, Notes (Aperture, 2004), is both an appealing social document and an informative guide to his artistic methods. If the claim that he is `deeply interested in the lives of the people in my pictures' is to be taken seriously, then thinking about Sturges' images should involve thinking about naturism and the kinds of people who are naturists.

Australian poet Les Murray remarks that public nudity in Western cultures is `relaxed as exam time', but some such cultures do nudity better than others and attain genuine relaxation. I have always thought Australia with its Mediterranean climate and vast tracts of white beaches had great nudist potential, but my country had the misfortune to be born English. It has grown up with the general aspect of the working-class Pommy migrant made good, raised in cleaner air and living on a larger suburban block than was available `back home', more of a brash, materialist loudmouth than its native cousins, but still caught in all of their mental shackles.

America was born English too - a virulent, Puritanical strain of it - and in the text of Notes it is fascinating to read Sturges on his early life in that country, which he sums up as `a long tunnel of single-sex experience [at school and in the military] and social deprivation. . . . While I was young and my work was new, it was about hormones and photography.'

My own visit to one of France's largest nude beaches a few years ago confirmed my intuition that nakedness needn't be a big deal. This was middle-class Europe with its clothes off.
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