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Alvin Booth: In House Nudes
Limited softcover edition
Alvin Booth´s IN HOUSE NUDES
To be asked to contemplate and write about Alvin Booth’s collection of previously unseen photographs, assembled over 34 years, is to know that one will be walking through the rooms and along the roads of his memory palace, the loci of his psyche.
Alvin has the singular ability in his photographs to evoke the feeling of some vanished stash of Victorian erotica, the secret gardens of 19th century English fairy tales, stills from early twentieth century film like Les Vampyrs, and then simultaneously imbue them with the entirely contemporary. With this hybridity of the old and the new, he is taking a stand against a world that is changing too fast, a world that is saturated with crisp and colorful images that linger no longer than the taste of chewing gum. We are in an age of technology that has obsolescence but not history. Alvin resists this unsatisfactory ephemeral quality of our digital present by creating the paradox of the profound snapshot: he captures a cross-sectional moment but gives it longitudinal aura. He achieves a sublime melancholy reminiscent of Atget but unlike him, gives equal billing to the people and the architecture.
As you drive along highways and back roads in Europe, old houses flash by, but lacking for x-ray eyes, the insides of them remain forever hidden. Alvin is inviting you to look inside one of these country houses; the naked bodies symbolizing a transgressive breach of the primal privacy of walls. All the lighting is natural; we are entering through the windows into daytime darkness.
John W. Krakauer