1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Hypnotic Dreamscape Daring You to Look Away, May 21, 2023
Strange, decadent, daring, lush, sacred, gorgeous, hideous, nightmarish, dreamlike ... this is Witkin, a mass of contradictions capable of stirring so many mixed emotions that you may find yourself feeling a bit dizzy or queasy or struck mute in some sort of hypnotic trance. These photos are not to be ignored. They demand you to either look away and hide your head beneath a pillow as you struggle to erase them from your memory (good luck) or stare transfixed as their obscene beauty pierces your soul and leaves its indelible mark. Either way, honey, you are doomed - but in such a wickedly wonderful way.
Witkin makes no apologies for his art nor should he. He is a loathe it or love it kind of master surrealist who layers one assault to reason upon another. The freakish and ethereal images that live in his photos belong to an alien world as much as they exist in this one and in us. It doesn't necessarily take a brave heart to enjoy his work but it does take one that is willing to accept that beauty is capable of thriving even in the inkiest black regions of decay or disfigurement; it dances there, haloed in its own light, while waiting for us to join it.
Art that is capable of eliciting such strong emotions is worthy of our attention and the fight to preserve it.
3 of 54 people found the following review helpful:
A Very Sad Book, Feb 15, 2023
This is a book about a sad man who choses to photograph dead babies and corpses.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
Very Highly Recommended - Biggest Visual Impact, Jan 8, 2023
I appreciate Joel Peter Witkin's photos for a few years, before I can actually own this book finally. This book makes my experience complete.
A comprehensive collection of Joel-Peter Witkin's work, which belongs to the dark side of human. The careful composition of human body, objects and background, sometimes with cross-reference to classical paintings, invites a surreal, poetic, and miserable feeling.
If you only think that his photos are terrible, you need more time and more patience to read his images, through understanding. Extract from what Witkin said - 'When people see my work, there is no 'grey area' of response. What they experience is either love or hate.'
For all photography books I have ever read, this one is the most visual impacting ! Joel Peter Witkin's work is inspiring, original, and creative.
Very highly recommended, if you want to look into our human side.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
The Definitive Volume, Feb 14, 2023
Be forewarned: Witkin's photographic art is wholly unique and strange and bizarre and macabre.....and wondrous. How often do we really have the courage to face our nightmare demons, real or imagined? Here is an artist who has devoted his life to addressing the dark side of our minds. Yes, these are photographs of "freaks" manipulated to states beyond which even they can go. Some people are put off by these images, finding them cruel and disgusting. But why do these same people pack the theatres and movie houses that continue to grind out rehashed Dracula, Frankenstein, Phantoms of the Opera, and other creatures from the black lagoon of invention? Perhaps the fact that these are photographs and not drawings or paintings makes them fall into the realm of possible rather than make-believe. But here they are, like a sideshow, with incredible presence, lighting, theatrics, and pain. For the unafraid, Witkin's photographs are beautiful. And so is this volume!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
The original and best: A master of the Macabre, Jul 3, 2023
Witkin is an extremely original and spiritual artist who never strays from his own personal vision. He also comes recommended by the best: Clive Barker is a fan and Nine Inch Nails made a music video based on his work. His work is often imitated but his unique style which blends the freakshow, the gothic and the baroque with imagery of death and religion, can never be matched. Witkins photographs are often horrific and deeply bizarre but are always beautiful. This book contains the best quality reproductions of a great number of Witkin's photographs that I have ever seen, as well as lengthy and informative essays. I highly recommend it for initiated fans of Witkin or as an introduction to his work.