Deborah Turbeville

June 8, 2010

From Turbeville’s Suite of Three Nudes, 1986.

I haven’t seen such astonishingly beautiful photographic work in quite some time.

“I have an instinct for finding the odd location, the dismissed face, the eerie atmosphere, the oppressed mood… In these times aesthetic taste is dismissed as irrelevant. Well, I am perverse, for that reason I am more drawn to it than ever. I have been described as having style, of being a mannered photographer…it’s some people’s quarrel with my work and others’ fascination.”

And mannered it is: her works have the feel of a scene deliciously and very consciously staged. But the thing that really strikes me about Turbeville’s work, is that at the same time as she draws from the painterly mannerist tradition, she muddies it with a visual sincerity that is decisively modern; decisively photographic, if you like. Her photos are unsettling, if for no other reason than they seem to improbably mediate at once between a frankness and a posture, resulting in works that are highly and beautifully stylised, but at the same time strikingly real.

‘Glass House: Sonia Rykiel’, Facade Magazine, 1978.

‘L’Heure Entre Chien et Loup: Blumarine’, VOGUE Italia, 1977.

Have more of a lookee here, here, and here.


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