28 November 2007

Eloquent Nude Review

I was very satisfied with the Eloquent Nude DVD. It was well written, well edited, well directed and produced. The thing that made it the best for me was that it had actual video commentary from Charis Wilson. If you think back to the movie "Titanic" for a second, the movie opens with the the female lead character "Rose" being played by actress Gloria Stuart. We are not talking about the younger Rose, played by Kate Winslet. It's first narrated by the frail little old lady, Rose, who recounts the story of Jack and how he saved her life on the Titanic. Well, this is what it felt like only this wasn't the real life Rose. It was the real life Charis!

She is very frank in this documentary. She doesn't try to be lady-like, politically correct, or even "proper". She tells it like it is, both the good and the bad. She seems to have a knack for story-telling. I would love sit at her feet, like a child, and listen to her accounts of adventures with Edward Weston and their escapades across the US on a budget. You don't hear many 91 year old ladies talking about sex, yet here she is recalling how she was well advanced in her sexuality at a very young age even before she at age 21, met Weston. (This is in the early 1930's). She discusses how he made her feel in the beginning as well as how she hurt and betrayed she felt toward the end of their marriage. She remembers it all with such vivid recollection that you can see it all play out in front of you.

But that vision is also aided by the film's actors who portray Charis, Edward, Ansel Adams and a host of other notable figures that the couple interacts with throughout their journeys and travels. I could be wrong, but I seem to feel that Charis lead a very fulfilled life, full of zero regrets. I am sure she must have had some moments where she may have made wrong decisions, but from the limited vantage point that we are made privy to, I would guess that she still lived her life the way she wanted to and on her own terms. As I watched the credits roll, I felt an even deeper appreciation for her contributions and for what she did for photography as much as I have for any photographer, including Weston. She helped make photography into an art form when the art society was still discounting it as a true art. Weston was the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship only because Charis wrote is letter of application for him.

If this is a first time read for you, you will have to pull up some of my previous posts regarding my search for this DVD to fully appreciate how I feel about Edward Weston and Charis Wilson. The DVD is titled "Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston and Charis Wilson" and is available at that link. Whether you are a fan of Weston or not, I highly recommend you purchase this DVD and share my enjoyment for it. No pics this time. It would just have spoiled the review. This was all about Charis.

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