I photographed April sometime around 1977 and she became my first nude. Since then I have taken thousands of nudes, all of which are in a tidy and rather large metal filing cabinets. They are in alphabetical order so I can find anything I can remember. Sometimes the names fade and I have to hunt around. Occasionally I display some of those nudes in this blog but I make sure that bits do not show. In the last couple of years, whenever I shoot nudes (this activity has been in the wane) I make sure I take a few that will fit my self-imposed blog censorship. I don’t want to shock anybody out there.
In the last 10 years body painting has become very popular. I loathe it. There is nothing chintzier than one of those airbrush body paint “artists” who will place strategic Brazilian blue butterflies on a woman’s chest or paint a skirt and thus sort of hide the lower countries. Because body paint hides I have noticed that even our morally conservative Vancouver Sun considers body paint to be like clothing. Gossip columnist Malcolm Parry inserts body painting pictures in his column with lots of regularity.
But I am going to test the waters here with these pictures which I think are beautiful. Juan Manuel Sanchez, his wife Nora Patrich and I embarked on a project that we called Cuerpos Pintados or Painted Bodies. There was a difference here from other body painting projects I had observed in the past. In most of those the human body was the canvas for the artist. In our case, an in particular with Juan Manuel Sanchez’s work, the body was not only the canvas but also the work itself as he painted his models exactly as he would paint them on a flat canvas. The body was no simply a surface for something to be painted. The surface became the person twice. For years Juan Manuel Sanchez has been simplifying his paintings of nudes. One day he told me, “If I could reduce a woman’s body to one line, I would do it.”
When I photographed his finished and living art I felt that I was doing more than recording it. In many ways they felt no different than any portraits that I took in the past. My subjects could never return for me to take exactly the picture I had taken before. In the same way Juan Manuel Sanchez’s painted women were just as ephemeral.
Live Art- Acto Vivo