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The Rotenberg Collection: Cheesecake (English, French and German Edition) Paperback – June 1, 1999
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I liked it and look at it a lot, but it is what it says - cheesecake. Not a serious study or history and does not pretend to be. Buy it, enjoy it, keep it safe.
The fact that many of these shots are clearly the work of amateur photographers who got their girlfriends to pose, not only nude but quite suggestively, rips the lie off the myth of the propriety of the 50's. The themes (and the excellent thematic organization) of the book are a visual catalogue popular sexual fantasy. The women themselves, in the shape of their bodies and the expressions on their faces, tell us a lot about their lives, and about the lives of men who gobbled up these images. Also, it's rather nostalgic to see all those natural, un-enhanced breasts. Lastly, the strict line between what is shown and what is not is, of course, a fascinating study in the difference between "acceptable naughtiness" and what was then viewed as perversion. These are the social limitations from which sprang the sexual revolution.
I find the organization and presentation of this book excellent. The material is fun, funny, sad, somewhat innocent, and occasionally very erotic. Also, the book is witty, simply by its organizing principles, even without saying a word.
Let me tell you, I must disagree with some of the other reviewers. The image reproductions are excellent as are the paper and binding quality. This is the case with all the Taschen publications that I own. Before making statements about image reproduction quality, one must first understand the nature of the source material. Also, there is a very definite order to the layout of the photos, it just may not be that apparent in some instances. For example, we have women on the phone; women smoking cigarettes; women in the kitchen; women at the beach; women with whips; women in groups of three; bound women; black women; asian women and so on.
Most of the photos in this book were taken before I was even born, but the playful, girl-next-door innocence of these women casts a wonderful spell on me. Yep, those were the good ole days!
As if to reflect the poor quality of the material and editorial approach the physical product is shoddy. The reproductions are poor, the book is not solidly bound.
On the bright side it should not last very long.