I have been following Reneée Jacobs for quite a while and am always amazed at her integrity. there are many people who view people who photograph nude women as voyeurs. As she has with her workshops and her books, including her new release, Paris, Jacobs has treated us, the viewers, with many images that can be classified as no less than fine art. She has spent many years perfecting her craft. She works with female models with ease and with a knowing ability that enables us to be drawn into her images on these pages as a lover, compelled to look deeper.
Whenever I teach a workshop dealing with nude models, one of the most challenging things to get across to people who haven’t worked with models is the sense of ease that is evoked between the models on these pages and the photographer. It is very obvious that Jacobs has built a great rapport with each of the models. Some of the most intimate moments are, to me, pictured when a model is not nude but seemingly caught off-guard, and she shares a very knowing/intimate look or pose with the viewer/photographer. Is this an act? Is it real? It doesn’t matter. More than catching the model off-guard, I think it might serve to catch the viewer unawares, maybe even elicit a blush.
Arguments will more than likely ensue about the erotic nature of the book. Many will label it pornography. Many will simply dismiss it as “trash.”
In the “Introduction,” John Wood writes, “[Walt] Whitman understood that the erotic was its own justification and that there was no shame in it or its varied sexual expressions. Much of the joy of erotic art, especially erotic photography, is that it is a gift to us from the artist and the model, a gift of the emotion inherent in it.”
Many photographers of the nude have followed the path taken by Jacobs, but few have taken it with the full-on rush of the Internet as a support system, with many of her followers (“friends”) urging her on in spite of her being warned about displaying nudity on one of the sites. I have been one of those who have followed her throughout this process. I have cheered her on and congratulated her for her seemingly insurmountable challenges.
The result I now hold in my hands is a book that will warrant many views, as well as many reads of Wood’s wonderfully insightful writing. Of course I have several favorites on these pages. You’ll just have to find your own when you acquire your copy of Paris.