The way we have grown to see 'things' beyond the norm, beneath the surface, the fabric or matrix of a 'so-called society'.
Untitled by Osborne Cox
|FRANCE. Hauts de Seine. Meudon. 1991.|
|SWITZERLAND. Basel. Carnival. 1977.|
|FRANCE. Paris. Opéra Garnier. The "Petits Rats" of the Paris Opera in one of the dressing rooms. 1979.|
|USA. New York City. Veterans' parade, commemorating the armistice. November 11th, 1974. |
courtesy of Magnum Photos
|"There never was any standing aloft and unfolded on a bough|
|Like other flowers, in a revelation of petals ;|
|Silver-pink peach, venetian green glass of medlars and sorb-apples,|
|Shallow wine-cups on short, bulging stems|
|Openly pledging heaven :|
|Here’s to the thorn in flower ! Here is to Utterance !|
|The brave, adventurous rosaceæ."|
And milky-sapped, sap that curdles milk and makes ricotta,
Sap that smells strange on your fingers, that even goats won’t taste it;
Folded upon itself, enclosed like any Mohammedan woman,
Its nakedness all within-walls, its flowering forever unseen,
One small way of access only, and this close-curtained from the light;
Fig, fruit of the female mystery, covert and inward,
Mediterranean fruit, with your covert nakedness,
Where everything happens invisible, flowering and fertilization, and fruiting
In the inwardness of your you, that eye will never see
Till it’s finished, and you’re over-ripe, and you burst to give up your ghost."
Text by, D.H. Lawrence - Figs and photography by, Diane Powers.
Photography by, Emmet Gowin.
I was born in Los Angeles during 1966. It was this time photographer Wingate Paine published his boudoir book of muses 'Mirror of Venus.' It's been noted that Paine burned and destroyed all the negatives after the publication. It has also been said that the models were all friends and lovers.
I held little charm with my biological parents at this time, two mythological persons I call the Bios. You see, after three months with me they left me with the nuns where I was quickly claimed by a lovely Dutch couple who showed me the world so that the Bios could go on with their life. All that's known of them barely fill page in a profile of feedings and sleep habits. It's been written that he was a poet and she a clerk. He was dark and small in stature. She was tall with long red hair and big blue eyes. So why do I think of the Bios at a time like this? I'll get to that.
Almost forty three years later Wingate Paine's images of muses were celebrated once again in a lovely little vintage clothing store called Resurrection on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood last month. Designs by Katy Rodriguez, walls adorn by the women of Wingate Paine. The images captured theses beauties in intimate moments that give you that feeling of a time filled with morning luminosity after the surrender when the mood is light and warm. A time between the purity of the 1950's and the sexual revolution of the 1960's. Rodriguez designed a collection inspired by this celebration of female openness and femininity and is quoted in saying, " The book is “fashion without clothes,” whose designs have a lot of Paine’s girlishness to them." The collection was donated from private collectors. The exhibit ran from May 21 to June 15 this year under the title "Venus Revisited."
Viewing and admiring the frivolity of these moments of women playfully running nude on the beach, laughing in the bath and posing within clean white sheets I began to speculate the relationship of the Bios. Was she the muse of his creativity? Did he destroy the remnants of words as he blatantly threw me away? Did she in fact survive the artist muse relationship? My entire existence in fact based on question and query, never to be answered. However, not worth tormenting oneself. I now posses a sense of romanticism when it comes to the Bios. Maybe he wrote of a smile and pleasant afternoon that seized him with a passion to burn all that was lost.
"Wingate Paine, 1915 – 1987, was a member of a Mayflower New England family with ties to law, banking and the ministry. He broke from those traditions and became a Marine captain, connoisseur of French wine, devotee of Hatha-Yoga and finally a gifted photographer and filmmaker. Described as his “visual valentine to feminine beauty,” Paine’s series of female nudes were published in his 1967 book Mirror of Venus. This 1960s classic was printed in ten editions and features text written by Federico Fellini and Françoise Sagan. Paine later abandoned photography for sculpture. Mirror of Venus represents the culmination of his photographic career."
Written for Imeem August 23, 2009.
Photography by Wingate Paine.
"You always read about it:
the plumber with the twelve children
who wins the Irish Sweepstakes.
From toilets to riches.
Or the nursemaid,
some luscious sweet from Denmark
who captures the oldest son's heart.
from diapers to Dior.
Or a milkman who serves the wealthy,
eggs, cream, butter, yogurt, milk,
the white truck like an ambulance
who goes into real estate
and makes a pile.
From homogenized to martinis at lunch.
Or the charwoman
who is on the bus when it cracks up
and collects enough from the insurance.
From mops to Bonwit Teller.
the wife of a rich man was on her deathbed
and she said to her daughter Cinderella:
Be devout. Be good. Then I will smile
down from heaven in the seam of a cloud.
The man took another wife who had
two daughters, pretty enough
but with hearts like blackjacks.
Cinderella was their maid.
She slept on the sooty hearth each night
and walked around looking like Al Jolson.
Her father brought presents home from town,
jewels and gowns for the other women
but the twig of a tree for Cinderella.
She planted that twig on her mother's grave
and it grew to a tree where a white dove sat.
Whenever she wished for anything the dove
would drop it like an egg upon the ground.
The bird is important, my dears, so heed him.
Next came the ball, as you all know.
It was a marriage market.
The prince was looking for a wife.
All but Cinderella were preparing
and gussying up for the event.
Cinderella begged to go too.
Her stepmother threw a dish of lentils
into the cinders and said: Pick them
up in an hour and you shall go.
The white dove brought all his friends;
all the warm wings of the fatherland came,
and picked up the lentils in a jiffy.
No, Cinderella, said the stepmother,
you have no clothes and cannot dance.
That's the way with stepmothers.
Cinderella went to the tree at the grave
and cried forth like a gospel singer:
Mama! Mama! My turtledove,
send me to the prince's ball!
The bird dropped down a golden dress
and delicate little slippers.
Rather a large package for a simple bird.
So she went. Which is no surprise.
Her stepmother and sisters didn't
recognize her without her cinder face
and the prince took her hand on the spot
and danced with no other the whole day.
As nightfall came she thought she'd better
get home. The prince walked her home
and she disappeared into the pigeon house
and although the prince took an axe and broke
it open she was gone. Back to her cinders.
These events repeated themselves for three days.
However on the third day the prince
covered the palace steps with cobbler's wax
and Cinderella's gold shoe stuck upon it.
Now he would find whom the shoe fit
and find his strange dancing girl for keeps.
He went to their house and the two sisters
were delighted because they had lovely feet.
The eldest went into a room to try the slipper on
but her big toe got in the way so she simply
sliced it off and put on the slipper.
The prince rode away with her until the white dove
told him to look at the blood pouring forth.
That is the way with amputations.
They just don't heal up like a wish.
The other sister cut off her heel
but the blood told as blood will.
The prince was getting tired.
He began to feel like a shoe salesman.
But he gave it one last try.
This time Cinderella fit into the shoe
like a love letter into its envelope.
At the wedding ceremony
the two sisters came to curry favor
and the white dove pecked their eyes out.
Two hollow spots were left
like soup spoons.
Cinderella and the prince
lived, they say, happily ever after,
like two dolls in a museum case
never bothered by diapers or dust,
never arguing over the timing of an egg,
never telling the same story twice,
never getting a middle-aged spread,
their darling smiles pasted on for eternity.
Regular Bobbsey Twins.
Originally posted for Imeem.