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Fragmented Reclined

October 28 2018 - Blog, Gallery News

Fragmented Reclined

This is an escape into “photography as art.” A departure from the next photographic presentations of Spain and Portugal, which I can only go so far as describing “artistic” at its best.

I just completed some visions of Fragmented Reclined as part of the series named Fragmented, which can be found with the link https://jamesschotgallerystudio.com/photo-art/fragmented-series/

There are two aspects to consider, why and how. Later I will write with complimentary descriptive photographs to describe the latter. Presently, let me tell you about “why.”

Throughout Art History the classical nude has been a commanding and desirable subject for artists and their patrons. The nude has always been an integral part, but not exclusive in my exploration of photography and art, through playing its instruments; the camera, optics and lighting. My inspiration for this and all my “photography as art” comes together from these parts in total.

Fragmented Reclined was photographically inspired by my desire to explore with the reflective optics of mirrors, and on the concept that the female is a beautiful multifaceted, complex being.

After completing my first two photographic impressions of this concept seen on the link provided above, I decided to also explore some of the links this series had with art and artist of the past. With this in mind, it brought to mind a few lines expressed about women by actor Charles Laughton playing Rembrandt van Rijn in an old 1936 film entitled Rembrandt. With my heritage, I’ve always found inspiration in renown Dutch Artists. Here are the lines:

And of a sudden he knew that when one woman gives herself to you, you possess all women. Women of every age and race and kind, and more than that, the moon, the stars, all miracles and legends are yours. Brown-skinned girls who inflame your senses with their play, cool yellow-haired women who entice and escape you, gentle ones who serve you, slender ones who torment you, the mothers who bore and suckled you; all women whom God created out of the teeming fullness of the earth, are yours in the love of one woman.


Left – Danae by Rembrandt – 1643

Rembrandt’s lines are a literary view of every woman; that essence I visualize in the Fragmented photographs.

Other artists, such as Titian’s “Venus of Urbino” (1538), Jean Auguste Dominique’s “Grande Odalisque” (1814), Alexandre Cabenel’s “Birth of Venus” (1863), and Francisco Goya’s “La Maja Desnuda” (1800) have been similar well-known painted expressions of the classical female nude.

More contemporary approaches breaking with classical traditions have been painted creations by Pablo Picasso.  “Les Demoisellas” (1907) is one example. His cubist masterpiece “Girl Before A Mirror” (1932) visually correlates directly with my photographic objective and the sentiment expressed through photographs in the Fragmented Series.

With regards to the former, with his paints he was looking for a new visual language for his time and culture, as am I for my time with the instruments of photography. To the latter, he was interested in illusions and wanted to take the fragments of three-dimensional space and place them back on a two-dimensional surface, using as his favorite subject the interestingly integrated, complex, multifaceted nature of a woman. Many interpretations have been offered on this painting, all based on conjecture.

I likewise produced a photography book “Illusions of Martha’s Vineyard,” as I to enjoy illusions. Making brush strokes with my camera, optics and lighting, I always include in the subject of my illusions a female; multi-faceted, fragmented and fascinating.

My latest version, Fragmented Reclined, also spins off from Edouard Manet’s “Olympia” in several aspects. Art Historians say this painting was inspired by Titian’s “Venus of Urbino,” but that he wanted to challenge the formulaic established ideas of his time and strip away the mythology to paint a real woman not idealized. In short, he was aiming for reality through his style, brush stroke and modeling.

In this regard, photography the ultimate recorder of reality, and in this its standard and acceptable roll it can at best, as I’ve stated before, be “artistic.” My challenge was to create “photography as art.”

Fragmented Reclined

Fragmented Reclined








It can be confusing, but the essence of all my photography as art is created in camera with optics and lighting.

In a final note, I selected two other versions photographed, which are shown below. I chose, like Manet, the one in which she is addressing or confronting the viewer. Even though Olympia and Fragmented Reclined are separated by 153 years the patriarchal system is still dominant in many parts of the world, and pockets of this social behavior can still be found in Western Cultures. This confrontational direct look challenges this system and expresses strength. A woman may be fragmented, but it is all those fragments that give strength.

Fragmented Reclined -Back









Fragmented Reclined -Coy









James Schot