Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Burk Frey reviews Deborah Turbeville

     Deborah Turbeville (USA, 1932-2013) was a fashion photographer who, along with Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton, pioneered the transition of fashion's clean, well-lit character into a rougher, looser, more artistic, and avant garde style. Contrasting the urban eroticism of Bourdin and Newton, however, Turbeville achieved this with mysterious, dreamlike, and delicate scenes.

     While we can recognize her work by the grain, blurring, and understated tones, I think Turbeville's most significant artistic contribution is her rejection of the male gaze - often supplanting it with something more compelling, experimental, and emotionally raw.

     Turbeville was fixated on her own complex relationship with femininity, the art and fashion worlds (often apart, particularly prior to her influence), her insecure yet genuine rapport with the models, and her art's moody, broken quality. "The idea of disintegration is really the core of my work. I destroy the image after I’ve made it, obliterate it a little so you never have it completely there."

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