10.03.2012

WITH child


 I have had the honor of reviewing Howard Schatz' photographic book entitled "WITH child".

The hard-cover book itself is 176 pages of stunning pictures of the pregnant form.

In the brief months of a woman's pregnancy, the female form takes on a shape that has, for centuries, been a subject of artistic study. Acclaimed photographer Howard Schatz has captured the biologic sculpture of the pregnant body with his eighteenth book, With Child.

In her introduction to this monograph, renowned photography critic Vicki Goldberg writes, "In Schatz's studio, all subjects are transformed: one to alabaster; one to marble; another to bronze; one to an Arp; another to a dark etching, and still another to a fantastic zebra-like sculpture". These images go beyond a particular stage of the body's life into an exploration, and a conversion, of forms, at times verging on abstraction. They serve as points of departure: what can the pregnant body be while it remains itself? - Amazon Description
Schatz' study of the pregnant form spans 20 years and includes stunning black and white photographs of  pregnant women, new mothers, and their infants. He is a genius of lighting, texture, and form - creating awe-inspiring, breathtaking works of art from the human canvas. The captured images are dramatic, sometimes soft and pure, sometimes unnerving, other times dark, always powerful.
"It was biologic sculpture," Schatz says. "I'm interested in everything about the body. I'm interested in the body as a structure, and I'm interested in its psyche. And if it was going to be about sculpture, I didn't need it to be about skin. I'd rather it had been about stone or marble or some inorganic material. Color documents what's there, and black-and-white leaves room for interpretation. I wanted it to be about sculpture, and I did everything I could to make it be about sculptural. You see, I painted people, I did strange things to their bodies, I projected light on their bodies."
Graceful, pure, powerful, primitive, goddess... these are all words that came to mind while flipping through the pages. He captures dancers, acrobats, performers, and the everyday woman. They are frozen in time in leaps, struts, coy turns, full stretches, birthing squats, en pointe, curls, twists, and at rest. It is a celebration of form and beauty, bounty and miracle.

Many bodies are pure, while others are heavily oiled, painted, or textured.

And then the infants are photographed. The circle is brought full as the newborns and, sometimes, their mothers, are photographed. The internal, sensual power becomes an outward expression of love and life. It is breathtaking.
"... perhaps it's a contribution to mankind, hopefully. That would be nice—for an artist to do something to make other people happy. But that's sort of not why I did it. I think if you shoot what you think someone else wants, you're not going to make good images. You've got to shoot what's inside." - Digital Photo Pro
I am so happy to have this book in my library to show other women. It truly shows what's 'inside'. Women who doubt their power, their ability, or their beauty. Women who need a reminder of the miracle that they are taking part in - they will be the ones who will find this work most powerful. Howard Schatz has done a remarkable job accomplishing a masterpiece en pages - this truly is a contribution to (wo)mankind.

To visit WITH child on Facebook

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