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Rick Colson, False History of the Nude : A Contemporary Visual Fable

False History of the Nude: A Contemporary Visual Fable comprises modern scenes composited with now public-domain nudes taken from “French postcards” to create tongue-in-cheek scenes that barely mimic reality. The subjects in these postcards, women in France throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, were a source of titillation and amusement for visitors to France in that era. By today’s standards they seem quite innocent and benign.
The contemporary background images were photographed at various times between 2008 and 2016 with Canon and Sony digital cameras. Locations range from New York state to California, New England from Boston to Bar Harbor – and virtually everywhere in between.
As a photographer, printer and restorer of historical and contemporary artist’s images, I face the necessity for technical perfection in much of my work. By contrast, the images in La Fausse Histoire du Nu are loosely made with minimum attention to technical perfection and in the spirit of fun. They have no great meaning and are intended solely for the enjoyment of the viewers.
The history of nude photography is rich with images spanning art, commerce, erotica and pornography. Even though the original intent of the source “French postcards” was titillation, they are now considered to be “kitsch,” and humorously “quaint.” Humor in nude imaging is relatively rare. The scenes in False History of the Nude are often darkly humorous and ironic… the merging of past and present to create a slightly naughty nether land.

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