Saturday, March 27, 2010

Resurrection of Venus - Wingate Paine

I was born in Los Angeles during 1966. It was this time photographer Wingate Paine published his boudoir book of muses 'Mirror of Venus.' It's been noted that Paine burned and destroyed all the negatives after the publication. It has also been said that the models were all friends and lovers.

I held little charm with my biological parents at this time, two mythological persons I call the Bios. You see, after three months with me they left me with the nuns where I was quickly claimed by a lovely Dutch couple who showed me the world so that the Bios could go on with their life. All that's known of them barely fill page in a profile of feedings and sleep habits. It's been written that he was a poet and she a clerk. He was dark and small in stature. She was tall with long red hair and big blue eyes. So why do I think of the Bios at a time like this? I'll get to that.

Almost forty three years later Wingate Paine's images of muses were celebrated once again in a lovely little vintage clothing store called Resurrection on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood last month. Designs by Katy Rodriguez, walls adorn by the women of Wingate Paine. The images captured theses beauties in intimate moments that give you that feeling of a time filled with morning luminosity after the surrender when the mood is light and warm. A time between the purity of the 1950's and the sexual revolution of the 1960's. Rodriguez designed a collection inspired by this celebration of female openness and femininity and is quoted in saying, " The book is “fashion without clothes,” whose designs have a lot of Paine’s girlishness to them." The collection was donated from private collectors. The exhibit ran from May 21 to June 15 this year under the title "Venus Revisited."

Viewing and admiring the frivolity of these moments of women playfully running nude on the beach, laughing in the bath and posing within clean white sheets I began to speculate the relationship of the Bios. Was she the muse of his creativity? Did he destroy the remnants of words as he blatantly threw me away? Did she in fact survive the artist muse relationship? My entire existence in fact based on question and query, never to be answered. However, not worth tormenting oneself. I now posses a sense of romanticism when it comes to the Bios. Maybe he wrote of a smile and pleasant afternoon that seized him with a passion to burn all that was lost.

"Wingate Paine, 1915 – 1987, was a member of a Mayflower New England family with ties to law, banking and the ministry. He broke from those traditions and became a Marine captain, connoisseur of French wine, devotee of Hatha-Yoga and finally a gifted photographer and filmmaker. Described as his “visual valentine to feminine beauty,” Paine’s series of female nudes were published in his 1967 book Mirror of Venus. This 1960s classic was printed in ten editions and features text written by Federico Fellini and Françoise Sagan. Paine later abandoned photography for sculpture. Mirror of Venus represents the culmination of his photographic career."

Written for Imeem August 23, 2009.
Photography by Wingate Paine.


zoe said...

i'm glad for that sense of romanticism--it's where these lovely musings come from! beautiful photographs by paine, as well. i remember this post, too--another beauty!

Diane said...

Thanks Zoe! I'm pulling some stuff out of the cold space of Word Office, this seems like a good home for some of those old thoughts :)

Cynthia said...

Very exciting to read and learn
about this photograper. The nudes
are romantic and playful, full
of femininity.

Diane said...

I'm glad you liked it, thank you :)

Migue said...

I love the 4th picture, it is really sexy, the breast, and the showing what covers game.
And the neck in the first one, asking to be holded. Nice.


Diane said...

I'm glad you like them. Paine's passion for women come through in this collection :)

Eric ForFriends said...

I'm glad you were able to save this blog from the Imeem demise, Diane. Whether one knows a lot or little about one's family, I think it's special to look at photos that were made around the time of your birth, half in and half out of memory, like the first years of our own lives. But in your case, it must mean even more, and it's nice that these memories take such a graceful form.

Vesna said...

So beautiful and touching every time I read it. I remember vividly when i read this post on Imeem for the first time. I embrace your artistic, free spirit, you inspire me Diane, thank you so much for that.

Diane said...

You're wonderful Vesna, so happy and lucky to have you in my life!!!

Rosa said...

This post is a homage to the Feminity and Sensuality of the women. Beautiful pictures, without any vulgarity.Just art.
Lukewarm women, depicted in a early morning, after making love (or like they were going to have sex) show their body to their lover who immortalize them, their beauty, their sensuality. That's what Paine's photos make me think.

I like also the way you write. Such beautiful images accompany your own story. It seems like Art is a companion of life, Art against the disappointments and the sorrows. But I'm too talkative, as usual! :))

Very nice post, Diane. Very nice.

Diane said...

Thank you so much Rosa it really warms my heart to read your response :)
Art is indeed a "companion of life," but shares in the sorrows as well!
Warm regards to you Rosa :) xoxo