3 April 2011

Book review: Touch

Here's something a bit different to my usual penchants for steamy erotica or glam pinups - but no less fun for it, and one of my favourite books. Peter Gorman is a New York photographer, who has somehow found himself in the incredibly arduous job of visiting women in their apartments, and taking pictures of them in various states of undress. The result is, I think, more and less glamorous than that sounds, but both in a good way. More because, although these not (at least I don't think so) being professional models, he's found a wonderful array of really pretty girls, in a refreshing variety of shapes, looks and ethnicities.

We see them in, I guess, whatever poses they feel comfortable or sexy with; from handstands, to being curled up in bed, to teasing the viewer with a hand slipped inside their underwear - or said same panties being pulled tightly upwards against their skin. And as that last group implies, more often than not with at least some semblance of clothing on - not enough to leave too much to the imagination (there's plenty of full frontal nudity here), but just retaining a bit more interest than being completely naked.

The key feature of the book, though, is the seemingly less glamorous aspect of photographing the models' in their own homes. It makes the images believable and natural, despite the posing for the camera. And the glimpses of their rooms, their own stuff - often in some disarray, clothes hanging up, piles of books, fridges covered in notes - lends the enterprise an arousing and unique degree of intimacy, voyeurism and eroticism.

I think this is his third book along this theme; I do have the one before this - Stripped Naked - but I'd say that in Touch he's got the formula just right; the models look comfortable, as if they are having fun; sexy without being too self-conscious. The photography here is also better; there's obviously a flash-reliant documentary style to it, but it's well-lit and considered for it, and very much part of the feel.

As to format, this is larger than Goliath's typical format, at about 26x18cm; also, they've rather cheekily numbered every page, so although technically it's about 220 pages, only the right-hand pages are printed, so there are half that many photos in there. But it would still a great book even if it were - as it should be - half the thickness. Recommended; more samples here at Goliath.

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