The history of nude photography is the history of people’s fascination with the topic. Indeed, the photographic depiction of the human body is the only subject that has enthralled photographers, theoreticians and consumers over such a long period – more than 150 years. No other motif is as prevalent as this one during all the phases of development comprising the history of photography, no other is present, whatever the technique, and is a subject of discussion within the context of nearly all aesthetic movements. Nor has any other pictorial topic produced such a variety of specialities as the nude: from the ethnological interpretation of the body to the glamour shot, from nudist photography to the pin-up of today. No other photographic field of application has inspired as much desire as it has awakened official wrath.
1000 Nudes offers a cross-section of the history of nude photography, ranging from the earliest nude daguerrotypes and ethnographic nude photographs to experimental nude photography. The period of time spanned by this work is from 1839 to roughly 1939, from the medium’s infancy to the end of the classic modernist period. Content-wise, the book pays tribute to the full range of pictorial approaches, from the manually elaborated artistic nudes of the turn of the century, enveloped in layers of theory, to the “obscene” postcard motifs which had not the slightest artistic pretension and were intended to exert a maximum effect on the buyer’s wallet.
All the pictures shown are taken from the late Uwe Scheid’s collection, one of the world’s largest and most important collections of erotic photography.
“Fascinating for what it tells us about the history of body images and social codes.”
— The Independent, London