Book Review: The Model Wife
by Arthur Ollman
I love getting outside and engaging in street photography. Capturing images of strangers appeals to me as it can give me a glimpse into a different life. But, like most photographers I assume, have to practice on a willing subject. My enduring wife Hannah has patiently sacrificed hours of her life in front of my camera as I fiddle with settings or get used to new equipment.
I saw this book in a Shrewsbury charity shop and had to buy it! The book looks at the works of nine different photographers each of whom has captured images of their wives. Amongst the photographers included are Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston and Lee Friedlander.
Almost the entire book is in black and white and there are only five pages with colour photographs. Each of the photographers has his own chapter and is introduced with several pages of biography that includes the life of the subject. Many of the images involve full frontal nudity but nothing obscene.
For me the shots are an insight into the photographer’s creative process. They show the photographer ‘at play’ but still producing some emotionally powerful images of the person they are most attached to. The shots by Weston clearly show his love of form and shadow and these are amongst the most artist of the book whilst those of Friedlander have a strong documentary narrative.
My overall favourite image, shown here, belongs to Emmet Gowin who has captured his wife stood by an ethereally lit doorway as she surveys the chaos of a living room after Christmas morning. Great humour and her stance says it all!
The ISBN is 9780821221709 UK readers should be able to find a copy on Amazon HERE