Joel-Peter Witkin – The Bone House

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I recently stumbled upon a copy of Joel-Peter Witkin’s monograph The Bone House and have since been unable to remove his haunting, intricate, and surreal images from my mind. Witkin photographed the bodies of dwarves, fetishists, and corpses, often taking classical images from art history and turning them on their heads through wit and repulsion. Within his photographs, the severed appendages of an amputee stand in for the chipped arms of the Venus de Milo, and La Grande Odalisque becomes a voluptuous recumbent “freak,” tubes dripping from her orifices. Bodies idealized throughout the history of art give way to those willfully ignored by decorum and “decency.” The Bone House is comprised images selected by the photographer himself from his work during 1950-1998

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