March 15, 2013


Günter Blum, born 1949 in Mannheim/Germany, studied design at art school Mannheim, 1971-1986 worked as a freelance painter and drawer, in 1986 he started to do erotic photographs.
Günter Blum's output was limited. In part, this was because he died in 1997, at the early age of 48, having taken up photography only for the last ten years of his life after a career as an artist and illustrator. But the main reason for the fact that his oeuvre is small by contemporary photographic standard was the meticulousness with which he approached each of his subjects.
We live in an age when photographers can use the motor drive of their cameras to shoot pictures in much the same way as combat soldiers might use a sub machine gun by firing indiscriminately ain all directions, and only later surveying the remains and piecing together the truth that they want. The perfect photograph is often only the final choice exercised by the photographer or even a picture editor from a huge selection of similar but less perfect shots on the contact page. Blum worked in an altogether different way. He spent much time building his own sets, which sometimes mimic film sets an at other times look like naturalistic settings and such as might be found in a hotel room. And he would then take enormous care to get the shot that he wanted, often spending four or five houres over one pose. Both sets an costumes would then be disposed of after the shoot, so that no replication was possible. If one would continue the military metaphor, he was like the sniper of the platoon, interested only in getting the one perfect shoot. As he himself said: I'm not interested in photos of little girls just standing around.
His girls are far from little an they are certainly not standing around. Indeed is striking how mature an confident his women are, and how very posed is their stance. These women are not passive models, inviting the gaze of some anonymous admire; they are complicit in the act of voyeurism, and actively inviting the audience to look at them. It is no coincidence that some are posing in the classic stance of the Amazon, complete with bow and arrow, or with the more modern counterparts of whips and fetish gear, covered with chrome spikes and studs. Even when they are not thus equipped, their stance, their facial expression, is one of overt and agressiv sexuality. The props and costumes are sometimes used to evoke a more innnocent area of passive cheesecake pin-ups, but the look of women comes from a post- feminist era when women understand the strength of their own desire and how to use it actively. Their gaze is fully sexed.