There’s a picture by the late Garry Winogrand in this book of soberly sensational black-andwhite photographs that exemplifies the idea of looking without being seen: A nondescript young woman occupies a quiet museum bench while writing on something in her lap. Concentrating intensely, she crosses her lovely legs, holding them close to her and arching her feet sensually so as to set up a revealing contrast with the rest of her. Winogrand has stolen an especially intimate image of this anonymous person.
The other 109 prints in this collection, by some of the best known names in 20th century photography (among them: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Larry Clark, Alfred Steiglitz, Weegee, Eugène Atget, Walker Evans, Eve Arnold and Cindy Sherman), spy on lovers doing it, teens petting, nude figures lounging or bathing, strippers dancing, hookers servicing johns, porn stars humping and the like. Each plate is printed on a black background, as if putting the viewer in a voyeur’s seat hidden by darkness.
Often the photos just stare at their compromised subjects. But then one catches the faces of men watching naked women dancing – and the raw yearning in their eyes is another kind of vulnerability unveiled.
George Tysh is Metro Times arts editor. E-mail him at [email protected].