About the Photographer
American, b. 1947
Using a large format camera, Jock Sturges makes detailed portraits of naturists on the beaches of Northern California and coastal France. Many are adolescents or young adults, although he photographs subjects of all ages. The people in the communities where he photographs choose to be nude during the summer, and they are unselfconcious and unashamed of their bodies. Sturges has been spending time in Northern California and France for many years, and his subjects tend to be families that are his longstanding friends. The photographs are the product of relationships built on trust, and he has worked with many of his subjects repeatedly over time. In certain cases he has produced a series of images over a span as long as twenty-five years.
In images such as Fanny (1994) and Nichol, Euroat, Mantalivet, France (1988), the young subject poses within a picturesque littoral landscape, seemingly at home in nature, poised at the water's edge. Continuing in the long photographic tradition of portraying the nude figure, Sturges makes photographs that accentuate the luminosity of the scene and the formal beauty of the subject. Even so, Sturges' primary interest as an artist is not the body's formal qualities and potential abstract beauty. His work is oriented fundamentally around individual people, with a deep interest in their particularity. His work often deals with the emerging signs of an adolescent’s sexuality, as well as his or her increasing awareness. Nevertheless, Sturges considers his work to be as much about the development of personality and individuality as it is about the physical body. The erotic undertones that emerge are founded in the natural sensuality of all human beings, expressed in various ways from a young age, rather than openly sexual activities.
Born in New York in 1947, Sturges recieved a BFA in Perceptual Psychology and Photography from Marlboro College. He continued his studies at the San Francisco Art Institute where he earned an MFA. His work is included in many collections, including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Frankfurt Museum of Modern Art; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He resides in Seattle, Washington.