Monday, January 29, 2018

Book Review: 'Emotion 2018' by David Vance

David Vance is first an artist, a person who expresses himself through his medium - the camera. But while many of those who capture images with a camera remain photographers, David steps beyond. It is his innate sense of the manner light plays on the body, the ability to wait for that moment when his model is in complete communication with the idea David holds, that prelude that leads to the perfect moment when artist and model are in synergy when the result is beauty - these are among the many things that make his art unique. His Italian heritage continues to inform his art: his works recall or pay homage to the great sculptors and painters of Italy's past, but they also present that dazzling eroticism that has been present in works Italian for centuries.

David Vance is a magnet, for how else is he able to explain the secret that allows him to find or discover the most beautiful models who are the foci for his images. Slowly turning the pages of this compendium of masculine beauty is discovery of the awe of the human form - eyes, lips, muscle groups so perfectly aligned, hair, those magic moments of watching a sculpted body open his shirt to casually reveal his physique, the seemingly caught off guard gesture of lowering underwear or jeans, asleep or at rest, concealing or revealing their phallus, the added acrobatics that enhance the bodies of some, or simply eye contact with the camera or with us.

These splendid examples of masculine beauty are the canvases on which David Vance illuminates his art. In this compendium of images David is also concerned with movement, capture the paths of the bodies as though in slow motion, showing us both where they have been and where they are going. Or as David expresses it, ‘I’ve tried to capture images that show many kinds of motion from totally frozen in space and time to images that indicate movement with blur and the streaking of the light. Sometimes there is no apparent motion, but even in repose there is a sense of motion conveyed by the composition and visual dynamics of the image causing your eye to move around and through it. It’s almost as if you expect the eyes to blink or the head to turn. They may be still photos in the literal sense, but motion and emotions are products of your individual perception. We can step into the image and imagine what has just occurred or what is about to happen.’

Not that David Vance does not mold his models into creative poses, at times with drapery, at times with dramatic extremes of extension, at times capturing that apparent moment of privacy as though the model is unaware of the artist's presence. But where he creates moods or still lifes it is with the sense of exogenous enhancement of the body of the man, not mere decorative or manipulative additives for distracting effect. Albert Camus said `Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time.' David Vance reaches for that moment of eternity - and captures it, freezing it in time so that we may repeatedly return to what he has created.

`Facts which at first seem improbable will, even on scant explanation, drop the cloak which has hidden them and stand forth in naked and simple beauty.' The words are those of Galileo Galilei. The generously sensual and erotic photographs that combine to fill the pages of this book are the works of David Vance. The complement with Galileo's thoughts is in complete synchrony. `How beautiful maleness is, if it finds its right expression.' D.H. Lawrence. Grady Harp, December 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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