On Robert CHOURAQUI work
Probably France's most prolific glamour, fashion and fetish photographer, Robert Chouraqui has dedicated years to capturing only the most gorgeous of UK and European model babes on film and getting their images into print around the world. Chouraqui has developed his own style of 'nude portraits', as he calls them, preferring to focus on the intimacy of faces rather than the anonymity of bodies. His personal tastes have resulted in a mix of art nude and strange fashion photography which makes his images unique and instantly recognisable. His work has appeared in all the major magazines and in four of his own books. Few publications, however, have treated his work with the respect afforded it between the covers of his last published book; this slim, but this beautifilly produced hardback from France. Perhaps this is because the publishers have chosen to focus on a less familliar, and far more interesting side of Chouraqui than his more known straight-down-the-line colour work. In place of his familliar pouting pin-ups, this 88-page collection comprises, for the most part grainy, arty, toned black and white shots of nudes, either decorated in gorgeous metal body jewellery, rope or both. The women's bodies are demonstrative, formal, magnified, subjugated. They offer themselves to the watcher. Their faces extend the body's theatrical purpose and miraculously blur this same body, so intense is their gaze. The aesthetic presentation dramatises the images. Transfers from Polaroid to art paper, toning in various colours, material backgrounds with crackled or melted effects - all these serve to accentuate the moving presence of the solitary faces, emphasizing them softly.