Archaic Torso of Apollo - Rainer Maria RilkeMonday, August 06, 2018
While I was teaching The Contemporary Portrait Nude at the now gone (Alas!) Focal Point photographic school on 10th Avenue I would sometimes shoot quick snaps while my students were using the flash system to photograph our models. This particular shot of mine I had not noticed until today. And because of the wonders of a scanner and a readily findable negative, presto you can see this shot. I struck me today that I have a portrait style (this I know) but I had never put a thought that the moment you remove the face (and it is no longer a portrait) it is very difficult to discern a style or attribute the image to a known photographer.
Archaic Torso of Apollo
Rainer Maria Rilke, 1875 - 1926
We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,
gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.
Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:
would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.
Torso arcáico de Apolo
Nunca hemos conocido su inaudita cabeza,
en donde maduraban los globos de los ojos.
Mas su torso arde aún, igual que un candelabro
en el que su mirar, aunque esté reducido,
se mantiene y reluce. Si no, la proa del pecho
no podría deslumbrarte, ni en el álabe suave
de las caderas una sonrisa podría ir
al centro que tenía poder de procreación.
Si no, estaría esta piedra desfigurada y corta
bajo el umbral translúcido de los hombros, y no
centellearía como las pieles de las fieras;
tampoco irrumpiría, desde todos sus bordes,
como una estrella: porque no hay aquí ni un lugar
que no te pueda ver. Debes cambiar tu vida.