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From the Publisher
Mattress is Greg Friedler's 4th book. If you don't know the first set of books (Naked New York, Naked Los Angeles, and Naked London), you should, because they are wonderful. In those books as in this one, Friedler imposes severe limitations on himself, within which he realizes his art. Here, as with that series, Friedler has given himself a strict format. Nude women. A simple constructed backdrop, not elegant, not sleazy; rather neutral, a bare mattress, not luxurious, not overtly suggestive and a more or less self-limited camera approach. He allows the camera to speak with simplicity and directness. He's chosen a difficult task for himself. For, just by description, he's dealing with subject matter and situation that could invite criticism of voyeurism, titillation, exploitation, intrusion, submission, domination, and objectification. He avoids all of that.
There's a long history of reclining nudes in art. Disparate examples that jump immediately to (my) mind are Goya, Helmut Newton (see the second to last sentence of the last paragraph, for where he's coming from!) Klimt, Picasso, and Lucien Freud. But, here is where we get to the heart of Friedler's book. Freud's (mostly sleeping) nudes look rather unattractive. He shows the gravity of, well, gravity. Goya, Klimt, and Picasso used nudes to present their eroticized vision, and made you see women as they wanted you to see them. Friedler has a different "dialogue" with his subjects. The results are purer and more subject to the viewer's psychic eye and interpretation. The "models" present themselves as they are and as they wish to be seen. All are wearing self-applied makeup. Some are pierced; some have tattoos, and trendy black-ish nail polish. Some are bejeweled, some wear crotch-less pantyhose. Some are sweetly and purely unadorned. Friedler is just there, calmly, honestly, with his camera.
While one may have a curiosity about Friedler's personal eroticism, it's not necessary to go into that issue. That is for the viewer to experience/determine/imagine. When I wrote the jacket blurb for Naked New York, I said how more natural the nudes looked than when they were clothed. I no longer feel that way. I now see that many of the nudes in the first books are more concealed than when clothed. That issue never presents itself here. This is a book of remarkable sweetness, ease, and natural sensuality. Some of the women appear virginal, some seductive and smoldering, some vulnerable; none self conscious or fearful, all beautiful. I love the Brigitte Bardot look-alike. I love the whole book.
Jordan Schaps, New York, August 5, 2001.
About the Author
Greg Friedler received his Bachelor of Arts in political science and French from the University of Colorado at Boulder and then proceeded to receive a Master of Fine Arts in photography and related media from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Greg is a fine-art photographer who is the author of three monographs, Naked New York , Naked Los Angeles, and Naked London all published by W.W. Norton and Company. He also has been included in numerous anthologies including Exposed by Thunders... read more
How many naked women fit on a mattress? Greg Friedler (30 years old, NYC) solved this riddle in the same way as New York solved the problem of living space: one behind another on his bed, making it the smallest stage for an artistically, aesthetically and erotically wonderful pose for a photo!