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Old 07-29-2008   #1
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Joel-Peter Witkin

from Wikipedia

Joel-Peter Witkin (born September 13, 1939, in Brooklyn, New York City) is an American photographer.

Witkin was born to a Jewish father and Roman Catholic mother. He has a twin brother, Jerome Witkin, who also plays a significant role in the art world for his realistic paintings. Witkin's parents divorced when Witkin was young because they were unable to transcend their religious differences. He attended grammar school at Saint Cecelia's in Brooklyn and went on to Grover Cleveland High School. He worked as war photographer between 1961 and 1964 during the Vietnam war. In 1967, he decided to work as a freelance photographer and became City Walls Inc. official photographer. Later, he attended Cooper Union in New York where he studied sculpture and became Bachelor of Arts in 1974. After the Columbia University granted him a scholarship, he ended his studies at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he became Master of Fine Arts.

[edit] Influences and themes

Witkin claims that his vision and sensibility were initiated by an episode he witnessed when he was just a small child, a car accident that occurred in front of his house in which a little girl was decapitated.

It happened on a Sunday when my mother was escorting my twin brother and me down the steps of the tenement where we lived. We were going to church. While walking down the hallway to the entrance of the building, we heard an incredible crash mixed with screaming and cries for help. The accident involved three cars, all with families in them. Somehow, in the confusion, I was no longer holding my mother's hand. At the place where I stood at the curb, I could see something rolling from one of the overturned cars. It stopped at the curb where I stood. It was the head of a little girl. I bent down to touch the face, to speak to it -- but before I could touch it someone carried me away."[1]

He also claims that the difficulties in his family were an influence for his work too. His favourite artist is Giotto, but the most obvious artistic influences on his work are Surrealism (particularly Max Ernst) and Baroque art. His photographic techniques draw on early Daguerreotypes and on the work of E. J. Bellocq.

His work often deals with such themes as death, corpses (or pieces of them), and various outsiders such as dwarfs, transsexuals, hermaphrodites, and physically deformed people. His complex tableaux often recall religious episodes or famous classical paintings. Because of the transgressive nature of the contents of his pictures, his works have been labeled exploitative and have sometimes shocked public opinion. His art was often marginalized because of this challenging aspect.

He employs a highly intuitive approach to the physical process of making the photograph, including scratching the negative, bleaching or toning the print, and an actual hands-in-the-chemicals printing technique. This experimentation began after seeing a 19th-century ambrotype of a woman and her ex-lover who had been scratched from the frame.

Joel-Peter Witkin
Joel-Peter Witkin - a tribute to a genius
Joel-Peter Witkin Love Redemption
'Joel-Peter Witkin: a saint in the morgue'
EUROART MAGAZINE | ISSUE 3 SUMMER 2007


http://youtube.com/watch?v=yHbxLDDZ5yshttp://youtube.com/watch?v=wSECqOGGA9c









(Dictated while taking a stroll) I have come to realizewhat a superbly contrived marionette man is. Though without strings attached, one can strut, jump, hop and, moreover, utter words, an elaborately made puppet! Who knows? At the Bon season next year, I may be a new dead invited to the Bon festival. What an evanescent world! This truth keeps slipping off our minds.

- Tsunetomo Yamamoto, The Hagakure
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Old 07-29-2008   #2
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Re: Joel-Peter Witkin

ah! Witkin is the best ever!!!!!
Ever noticed that NIN video "Closer" is all ispired by Witkin


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Old 07-29-2008   #3
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Re: Joel-Peter Witkin

of course I know the vid...back from the times when NIN didn't suck...although I'm not impressed by Mill's stuff in generalRussell Mills (realized a few minutes ago that he just made the layout for the cover design); nevertheless I like(d) the clip...reminds me of some encounters

(Dictated while taking a stroll) I have come to realizewhat a superbly contrived marionette man is. Though without strings attached, one can strut, jump, hop and, moreover, utter words, an elaborately made puppet! Who knows? At the Bon season next year, I may be a new dead invited to the Bon festival. What an evanescent world! This truth keeps slipping off our minds.

- Tsunetomo Yamamoto, The Hagakure

Last edited by Cyril Tourneur; 07-29-2008 at 02:48 PM..
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Old 07-29-2008   #4
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Re: Joel-Peter Witkin

I was lucky enough to procure a limited edition of GODS OF HEAVEN AND EARTH when it was released many moons ago. I had seen nothing quite like it at that time, and subsequent visions that brush upon this style seem as pale imitations of the master's game.

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Old 07-30-2008   #5
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Re: Joel-Peter Witkin

An old favorite. Thank you for giving him a much deserved thread on this site.
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Old 08-01-2008   #6
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Re: Joel-Peter Witkin

Witkin has been a huge inspiration in my digital art. He creates such a bizarre, unique, disturbing but fascinating mood in his photography that you don't see anywhere else.
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Old 12-14-2016   #7
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Re: Joel-Peter Witkin

That one with the human skeleton on the giant bird skeleton is freaky as hell. I love it.

I wonder if in a million years people will find that and thing they've discovered the Instant Knockout pics Instant Knockout Review - Does it really #BURN fat? My Results.. remains of some ancient human/bird hybrid.

Last edited by Freshest; 09-02-2017 at 05:39 AM..
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