Synopses & Reviews
This is a retrospective look at the work of one of the late twentieth century's most profound and disturbing artists. For this collection Joel-Peter Witkin has personally selected from his own archives his finest images, ranging from his early Coney Island "freak show" studies to his most recent work. Witkin's portraits of subjects both living and dead have disturbed countless viewers for their unwavering viewpoint and magically grotesque compositions. The artist's sojourn captured here, with each photograph a station along his path, veers between oblivion and salvation. This book depicts Witkin's journey until now. Texts by the artist and Eugenia Parry.
The image exudes torture and pain, but this is not the extent of the photographer's ambition for it. He envisions a huge scale; the print will be the largest he can make because he has mapped a grand conception, and, after more than forty years as a photographer, arrived at a place of understanding more lucid than he has ever before achieved. With his vanitas he establishes an erotic territory of majestic sacrifice and sacrament, the meaning of which, for him, lies somewhere between the unspeakable suffering of the crucified Christ and that of the Jews under Hitler.