(b New York, 4 Nov 1946; d Boston, 9 March 1989).
American photographer, sculptor and collagist. In the early 1970s, after
studying at the Pratt Institute of Art in Brooklyn (1963Ė70), he produced a
number of assemblages and collages from magazine photographs often altered
by spray painting. In one such work, Julius of California (1971;
Charles Cowles priv. col.), he drew a circle around the male figureís
genitals as a subversion of the usual practice of censorship. He soon began
to take his own black-and-white photographs with a Polaroid camera,
incorporating them into collages (e.g. Self-portrait, 1971; Charles
Cowles priv. col.,) or arranging them in sequences, as in Patti Smith
(Donít Touch here) (1973; artistís col.), a portrait of the poet and
singer who was one of his favourite models. Within a year of showing his
Polaroids in his first one-man show (New York, Light Gal., 1973) he began to
use a large format press camera, followed soon afterwards by a Hasselblad.
As his interest in photography increased, so he looked more closely for
guidance to such earlier photographers as Nadar, Julia Margaret Cameron and
F. Holland Day. His photographs of the later 1970s include a number of
homo-erotic, sado-masochistic images, such as Helmut (1978). Here, as
in other works, the presentation of a carefully posed figure against a plain
paper or cloth backdrop creates a strong formal structure in counterpoint to
the shock value and intensity of the subject-matter. This formal emphasis is
even more apparent in the flower and still-life works, such as Pan Head
and Flower (1976; Holly Solomon priv. col.).