Saturday, July 07, 2007

Speaking of Nudes

copyright Stephen DiRado 2007

My friend, Stephen DiRado of Worcester, Massachusetts has been photographing on the nude beaches of Martha's Vineyard for ....... 15 or 20 years with an 8x10 view camera. There are no grab shots with a 8x10 view camera. Stephen has a relationship with every person in every image.

The first time I saw the beach people series, I was stunned. In the usual sense these were not nude photographs but they were images of people, real people, enjoying the sun, the sand and the water. They were comfortable in their ordinary bodies. The 8x10 view camera rendered the skin so beautiful and luminous but still it was skin with pores and hairs and wrinkles. Then when I got past the body, I got to the story. What is happening between these people? What are their relationships to each other?

Stephen teaches at Clark University but every summer he spends at Martha's Vineyard making images...images from the nude beaches and the dinner table and recently Jump images. I've had the good fortune to see these portfolios grow and I can tell you that the images on his website are just the tip of the iceberg.

A few months ago on Alec Soth's blog there was some discussion about underrated photographers. Stephen's name came up and Alec took a look at DiRado's website and then interviewed Stephen. Alec starts of the interview with:

Until last week I was not familiar with Stephen DiRado. A couple of folks had mentioned his name in regards to the discussion of underrated photographers. I looked up his website and was bowled over. While I don’t claim to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the medium, it is inconceivable that work of this quality and consistency hadn’t penetrated my consciousness sooner. Had I just spaced out or is Stephen DiRado the most underrated photographer in America? Within fifteen minutes of seeing his website I emailed Stephen in hopes of answering this and other questions regarding his remarkable work. Stephen responded with the same generosity of spirit that you can see in his pictures.

You want to see some nudes with a fresh perspective? Then go look at Stephen DiRado's website. You want to learn more about Stephen DiRado? Then go read Soth's interview with Stephen.


pitchertaker said...

As you know, Stephen is my paisan. Couldn't agree more with you, don't know anyone who works harder, or happier, making meaningful and thought provoking images.


Heather said...

Excellent photographer. I really do like the ones at the nude beach. The honesty in the eyes of the subjects are amazing. Thanks for sharing.