John Coplans is a photographer heretofore unknown to me. I am not sure what feed I found this image in. I can't seem to access the link for the image. Maybe when I publish it.
I read in an exhibition bio provided by the Carl Solway Gallery that he started photographing his body, close up, never including his face, at the age of 60 and continued for twenty years.
I was immediately ethralled by this image when I saw it.
It has an incredibly graphic and sculptural quality in a way that bodies are not supposed to have. It looks as much like a hairy block of stone with a couple of antennae fixed to the top as it does a body. It is an abstraction flawlessly executed.
What kind of universe are we living in that blocks of stone have hair or that hairy bodies look like blocks of stone? And those antennae cum fists? Is there some kind of rage going on here?
I learn from reading the Solway gallery description of artist and photography that the body of work constitutes a study of the male body aging. Does "do not go gently into that good night?" have any bearing here?
This quote of Coplans suggests it might:
“I have the feeling that I’m alive, I have a body. I’m seventy years old, and generally the bodies of seventy-year old men look somewhat like my body. It's a neglected subject matter...So, I’m using my body and saying, even though it's a seventy year old body, I can make it interesting.
I try to remember if I have ever seen a woman's body photographed in this way. I can't. Would it be possible? Or have we an example of a statement that could only be made with a male body.