As I’ve written, my photo of Bob Guter was chosen my the National Museum of Art in Osaka to represent my work in the 35th anniversary catalogue of their permanent collection, issued in 2012. They have 12 of my photos in their permanent collection, and this was their choice for the catalogue. Each artist had a page with one work and a curator’s essay.
I thought the essay about me and my work by Mariko Takeuchi was both thoughtful and interesting:
Laurie Toby Edison was born in New York in 1942. She moved to San Francisco when she was 38, and while becoming involved with the feminist movement, began to make the Women En Large series in which she captured the beauty of fat women. Through these women who face the camera with dignity and grace, the series examines the common assumption in our society that thinness is the ideal form of beauty. The work received a tremendous response through out the world. In 2001, Edison held a solo exhibition at the National Museum of Art, Osaka.
This photograph is part of Edison’s subsequent Familiar Men series. The naked man with the leg impairment lingers next the stair case landing with his back to the camera in an image that emphasizes with the delicacy and tranquility of the subjects rather than it’s power. The man, Bob Guter, is the founder of the online magazine Bent, which targets handicapped gay men.
In this series, Edison shot a variety of men of different races and ages with different occupations and physiques. All of the men are depicted with such gentle facial expressions and poses as too seem somewhat defenseless, embodying a powerful antithesis to the standard social notion that “manliness” is founded on being strong and sturdy. In this way Edison confronts society with a radical challenge in terms of what is considered to be masculine and feminine, and attempts to capture humans as a freer form of being.