Beauty & the Beast is a re-casting of the fable in images.
This series and the Rita Hayworth work represent my pre-Raphaelite period with a passing reference to Art Nouveau, a realization that only came later when re-visiting the work. Maybe it was a reaction against the prevailing purist dogma of the day which declared that beauty had no place in art. My own inclination was to listen to Jean Baudrillard's plea for something that is neither true nor real but is beautiful..
But beauty was not the primary intent; I simply wanted to tell a well-known story using contemporary images, which when all was said and done, turned out not to be very contemporary.
I also wanted to work in color but I had little patience with the color techniques of the time and I didn't have the wherewithal to hire a printer. So I turned to other ways of adding color to an image by toning the prints, and I also used Marshall’s Photo oils commonly employed at the time for hand-coloring photographs.
Years later when I decided to reprint the series, Marshall had gone out of business and I was no longer working with film. So the colors in this second version were added digitally.
Beauty & the Beast was first exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1977. The show consisted of about 30 images if I remember correctly. This director's cut has pared the series down to 16.
Reaction was mostly favorable with some exceptions; in fact, I found myself having to defend romanticism in writing after being challenged in the lively publication, Washington Review of the Arts, now sadly defunct.
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