been wanting to do this book for some years, but at the same time not too soon, because you want enough time to pass," renown portraitist Jock Sturges says in a video interview with Steidl publishing house. The book he alludes to is Fanny, an extended portrait that documents his goddaughter's journey from childhood on in haunting and ethereal shots that tell a deep narrative.
Fanny herself, Sturges explains, was never coaxed into posing for him. How she became his accidental muse, it turns out, was the contrary.
"She came to me one day when she was 5 and said, 'How come there's no pictures of me?' and then she was in the work from that moment on."
The New York-born photographer presents the book, as well as displays images from it (some taken of a pregnant Fanny as recently as a week and a half ago), this Friday at photo-eye Gallery.
The book, Sturges goes on to say, includes almost every picture ever taken of the subject, around 150 total, so that "people really have a sense of not just the trajectory of her life in detail—and with more nuance because of different expressions, etc.—but also the process of making the pictures and what the less-good pictures looked like that led up to the picture that worked out to be the most successful one."
Known primarily for his nude imagery, particularly of adolescent girls, Surges' work inherently brings with it a morbid dose of controversy. In the late '90s, failed attempts in Tennessee and Alabama to classify two of his previous books as child pornography were launched. Previous to this, his San Francisco studio was subject to an FBI raid.
Taking both a defiant and artistic posture, Sturges stands by his work, calling Fanny "the most beautiful book that I'll ever do."
As to nudity being a common denominator in his oeuvre, Sturges says mutinously, "the fact that portraits are naked is almost irrelevant to the fact that they're portraits, because they're not intended as erotic or sensual images. They're true images that people can live without shame."
Jock Sturges: Fanny
5-7 pm Friday, April 10
541 S Guadalupe St.,