You were a graphic designer before becoming a photographer: how has this former activity influenced your photography?
Studying graphic design introduces you to all forms of communication:
painting, film, magazine, advertising, typography, Bauhaus, De Stijl,
Dada; all this gives you a graphic eye and a vision as to the final use
of an image.
You were the creative spirit behind Nova in the Sixties: the magazine’s ambition was find a new way to talk to women. The Nova team was composed essentially of women: how did they take to representations of female nudity in the magazine?
The representation of nudity in Nova
was not used as a selling
point and only occurred to illustrate articles. The women writers on the
magazine were mostly feminists, but were not against femininity, and
certainly not threatened or against the sight of the female body, if it
was not being exploited.
Female nudes depicted in women’s magazines today seldom express the
kind of joyful sensuality featured in your work for Nova. Was it a sign
of the times?
In the 60’s, photographing nudes was I believe better considered and leaning towards art.
There is probably more nudity and more explicit nudity in magazines today.
Sexual freedom is more acceptable, and photographs are more exaggerated in their sexuality.
In the 60’s, I was much closer to the age of the models, and there was a
sexual awareness, but photographing a nude was a little like a life
class (drawing nudes at art school). Even a nipple was an exception to
be reproduced in a magazine. Now, I am sometimes old enough to be the
Do you think that retouching has in a way killed sensuality, by erasing
all of the imperfections that make women - flesh - alive?
Digital photography relies on much postproduction and lots of
retouching; it tends to encourage over-use, and sometimes an inability
to know when to stop. It certainly can look cartoony.
You have played bass and trombone, designed jazz album covers,
magazines, photographed Pirelli calendars, the most remote places on
Earth… which of these experiences did you enjoy most?
Most of the things I have worked or played at have been very enjoyable,
but having a passion for entomology, natural history, and ethnology,
travelling to the tropics is always a thrill - and of course
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