Heaven must have sent you from above

Ik had even geen titel voor boven dit stukje, dus gebruik dan die maar van het liedje waar ik tegelijkertijd naar luister (D’Angelo & Erykah Badu). Hieraan voorafgaand een nogal lange pauze genomen met publiceren op dit blog, net als trouwens met het aankopen van vintage foto’s. Er was en is nogal wat ander (betaald) werk te verrichten, vandaar.

Dit is een Grundworth uit ca. 1925, mijn laatste aanwinst, gekocht van een handelaar in Portugal bij wie ik de laatste jaren geregeld wat aanschafte. Ik ben zo vrij (en zo lui) om uit een artikel op transversealchemy.com te citeren wat er zoal over deze fotograaf (of over dit mogelijke collectief van fotografen) bekend is:

‘The anonymous “Grundworth” appears lost to history although hundreds of images dating from the 1890’s through the 1930’s are attributed to this unknown photographer, or collaboration of photographers. The photographs have been compared to contemporary artist Robert Crumb, with a fetish for big shoes and big butts. But the poses rise beyond mere titillation, representing the congruence of high and low art typical of the period when the medium was transitioning from “artist models” to honest smut.
A likely theory is that Grundworth was a pseudonym created from various photographers who wanted to create more lucrative and bawdy images while maintaining their standard lines of  more classical poses; an underground studio publishing anonymously could provide some protection against indecency charges.

‘The Swiss writer and photographer Serge Nazarieff is known to have handled some of the Grundworth negative plates, and postulated that the name may be an anagram of Albert Wyndham, a known photographer of the period who specialized in the artistic models. Grundworth and Wyndham used some of the same models, although this is hardly surprising. However, the pronounced variety in both technical expertise and composition in the many Grundworth sets combined with a span of almost 4 decades worth of published material makes it highly unlikely that the works could be attributed to a single artist. On the other hand, it is equally difficult to imagine how a collaborative effort of such magnitude could remain a mystery despite the number of historians and writers who have attempted to document it since then.

‘Academically, these photographs have been characterized as”…reflecting the breaking of social mores that divided classes and oppressed women…” In reality they were more likely simply designed to appeal to sexual instincts. Technically, however they represent superb examples of the genre, and despite their mysterious origins they have stood the test of time. The quality and sheer numbers of prints produced by this anonymous studio remain in circulation today, some of them fetching as much as $200 USD for a single original print.’

Het hele verhaal, inclusief pittige Grundworth-foto’s, vind je hier.