Sunday, July 15, 2012

Girl/girl photographs by Didier Carré

Didier Carré is a French photographer who specialises in explicit art photographs of women.  There are many, many photographers producing black and white "art" shots of naked young ladies but Carré differentiates his by taking fashion model-quality women and photographing them in late nineties Penthouse-type poses.

Carré studied classics and photography and then did his national service in the French navy, working as a photographer.  He then got a job as assistant to the official photographer of the French National opera.  Carré opened a black and white photographic laboratory in 1991 and immersed himself in the science and art of black and white photographic printing.

In 1998 he started photographing naked women in his particularly frank and reveling style.  He published his first book of photoraphs, Stainless Ladies in 2005. "I always work with the complicity of my models to get them to express a tasty mix of indecency and insolence," he said.

Carré uses natural light or, at most, one lamp to light his subjects, giving his studio shots a distuinctive shadowed look.  His fresh-faced girls are often photographed in paired pictures as a portrait and then in a more overtly sexual pose.  No doubt, Carré, being French, would say that it says something about the hidden, latent sexuality lurking within every woman which is not immediately apparent.  Or maybe it's nothing more complex than the joy of getting attractive women to spread their legs and display their cunts.

Most of Carré's women are photographed solo and we shall put some up on our Venus Observations site, shortly. We have already posted one of his pictures there, although at the time we didn't know the photographer.

He does occasionally produce girl/girl images and we include a few here.  Apart from the top one these pictures are all from one series of two ladies called Eva and Nikky, although which one is which is anyone's guess.  Both are exceptionally lovely, however.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Myrtocleia and Rhodis by Milo Manara

The works of Pierre Louÿs (born Pierre Louis in Ghent, Belgium in 1870) have inspired many erotic artists over the years. His 1894 collection of pastiche Sapphic poems, Les Chanson des Bilitis, inspiring everyone from Debussy through Suzanne Ballivet and Paul-Emile Bécat to the photographer David Hamilton. In 1896 he published his first novel, Aphrodite—mœurs antiques ( Aphrodite -Ancient Manners ) which described the life of a courtesan, Chrysis, in ancient Alexandria and is a take on the Pygmalion story. The book was a best seller, becoming the biggest selling novel in France at the time, although it was banned in the US. These two characters, in the painting by Milo Manara, are the musicians Myrtocleia and Rhodis who are lesbian lovers.

Manara produced fifteen watercolours to illustrate the Humanoid Publishing's 1999 edition of the book.  The publishers divided the novel into four parts and had different artists illustrate the different sections.  Manara illustrated the first part and his pictures (unlike some of the artists that followed) closely follow incidents and descriptions in the novel.  Manara (born 1945) uses a number of different styles in his erotic comic strips and illustrations but his watercolour style, as used here, is softer than his harder edged comic strip style. The picture at the top is a clever composition with the darker skinned girl dominating the centre of the painting, framed by two curtains.   The fact that her face is hidden takes your eye down to the blonde girl who would otherwise have been a subsidiary element in the composition.  It brings the crucial physical contact points of a tongue and three hands, into the heart of the composition.

They first appear in Chapter 6, The Virgins. "Now a light sound of footsteps palpitated upon the soil and two young girls appeared, one dressed in yellow, the other in blue."  This picture illustrates the line where Rhodis (in the blue) asks Myrtocleia (in yellow) to remove the iris  flowers woven around her legs.  "She knelt by Rhodis and detached the two garlands, then the three flowers placed higher, putting a kiss in place of each."

This picture illustrates Rhodis (a flute players) and Myrtocleia (a singer) who have been performing at an orgy in the palace.  One of the other girls had been ravished during the orgy but Myrtocleia had intervened to save Rhodis from a similar fate.  The two declare that they are going to bed together.  "Myrtocleia took her in her arms and both were silent together.  the wind mingled their hair."

Here the two girls have encountered the heroine of the novel, Chrysis., who whisks them away.  The girls tell her that in their own country of Ephesos they would be allowed to marry and even adopt children.  Chrysis, "discovering on her bed the two Ephesians...she leaped between them, separating them, clasped them with a sort of amorous fury, and her long golden hair enveloped the three young heads."

Effectively sensuous stuff.  More of Manara's lesbian lovers another time.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Auto Erotic by Earl Miller

We move on in our review of Penthouse couples pictorials to April 1976 and a set shot by Earl Miller.  This was Miller's third boy/girl pictorial for Penthouse, although we have to say that it was less successful than his others, for reasons that we will elucidate.   It tells the story of a young hitch-hiker called Terri who is seen here wearing a pair of shoes the likes of which you thought would never make a return to fashionable status.  This summer, however,  the shops are full of them!

We have used three sources for the pictures in this post: the US edition, the UK edition (which was slightly different from the US version) and some online pictures, which we have integrated into the narrative of the story rather than adding them at the end as we usually do.  You can tell which ones they are as they have very similar poses to other pictures but look much brighter.  The UK edition often, as here, printed their photographs slightly lighter then the US version which results in better online reproduction. It does mean that we have slightly different colour casts in the set, however.

Here is Terri having accosted the nerdy-looking Clarence.  Clarence is a big part of the problem with this pictorial.  He just looks too much like he has escaped from a TV comedy sketch show with his tragic glasses and terrible hair cut.  There is also something of Austin Powers about him which doesn't help either.

Terri doesn't waste any time and starts to molest him right away, giving him the opportunity for some of those "comedy" expressions that became very prevalent in some couples pictorials at about this time.  Oui was certainly full of them in 1976 and 1977.  Frankly, we don't think comedy and erotica mix very well.

 US version

UK version

Here we can see the nervousness of the British edition in that the picture in the middle of the three above has Clarence displaying his penis whereas in the UK edition he has had some (not very convincing) underwear painted over the top.   This was odd as in Miller's previous couples pictorial The Duel the UK version had clearly shown a semi erect penis.  Over the next few years, however, it would get to the point that the UK edition of Penthouse would stop publishing many of the couples pictorials at all due to their raciness.

The accompanying text for this pictorial was full of the most wince-inducing automotive imagery: "Terri decided to check out Clarence's transmission, whilst stripping down her own chassis..." etc. ad nauseum.

So far Terri has remained remarkably clothed for a couples pictorial but Clarence soon starts to free her from her none to bulky clothes.

Terri has something that was very unusual in the seventies: a tattoo.  Nowadays, of course virtually every girl who poses in Penthouse, or any other men's magazine, has their skin despoiled by these dreadful things.  Terri's here is the maximum size that Triple P can tolerate.

Triple P, we have to admit, has never got intimate with a young lady in a car.  This may have something to do with the fact that cars in the UK, especially the ones we had when we were younger, are much smaller than American ones.  All that maneuvering around is not easy when you are over six feet tall and in what Americans would call a compact car.

Here Terri is getting her hand into action and indulging in a little tie-play.  She has a delightful smile in this one.   There was no chance of painting underpants on to this one, however, so the UK edition left this picture out completely, which is a shame as it's the most fun shot in the pictorial.

A bit of maneuvering of their own follows but they are in a Mercedes and, of course we have no idea how many times they bump their extremities on bits of car in changing positions.  Although they aren't explicit the UK edition left out these pictures (above) from their pictorial, presumably just to save space.

Despite this faux fellatio shot there isn't much chemistry between the two models in this set and no real passion.  We can forgive Miller because his next couples pictorial would be much more passionate.

One thing you can't fault is the loveliness of the female model, Terri.  She had, however, already appeared in Penthouse in the October 1975 issue.

From this we can see that Terri was really called Melanie Sutherland and was born in 1956, which made her nineteen and "just one year out of high school", according to Penthouse, when this pictorial was shot.

Sadly, there were only six pictures in her pictorial which didn't, for some reason, appear in the UK edition at all.

These pictures were also shot by Earl Miller but, apart from the Auto Erotic piece she didn't appear in the magazine again, which is a shame as she is a real beauty.

She had a 36-25-36 figure,  according to Penthouse.  She has a lovely bust, excellent legs and a pert posterior as the rear view shot of her in shorts, at the top, shows.

Melanie made a couple of films, appearing briefly as a doomed hitch hiker in Hitch Hike to Hell (1977).  She is also noted as being one of the Penthouse Pets who appeared in the extra scenes Bob Guccione shot for Caligula (1979) but we can't recall seeing her in any of the versions so she must have been very much in the background compared with some of the other Pets.

She was easily beautiful enough to be a Pet but maybe there was some reason that prevented this and she is one of those girls that came and went and didn't seem to do any other modelling.

The following month's Penthouse, May 1976, would have two "love sets", as Penthouse called them, including another one by Earl Miller.  We'll post those shortly.