Charta Books (2008)
Reviewed by April Sullivan for Reader Views (9/08)
A flash of skin, breasts, a hand, a mouth open in ecstasy; taboo images. We have all caught glimpses of the blocked transmission of adult films on cable television. Flipping by with the remote control, we think we see something. We flip back by again. Maybe we stop for a few minutes to find out what we can see, always looking over our shoulder to make sure no one walks in the room.
Roger Camp, a photographer from California, not only stopped on this channel, he hooked up his camera equipment and took still photographs. He combined these photographs into “Heat.” As the author/artist says in the foreword “…what intrigued me about the images was not their erotic content so much as how the distortion often created images of beauty and grotesquerie far more powerful than the original video.”
I picked up this book with the same feeling of excited curiosity as someone stopping on the distorted TV channel. What would I see? Would it be titillating and sexy? Maybe the first glance through the book was that way. But as I explored more, read the foreword by Roger Camp, read the essay by Fine Arts professor Bert Yarborough, and studied the fifty color photographs, my thoughts and feelings turned in a more analytical and observatory direction.
Roger Camp is not a dirty old man looking for an excuse to watch and exploit pornography. He is an accomplished artist who sees and photographs images of light, shape, and color. Swatches of blues, reds, and greens color the bodies. Wavy lines of distortion drag eyes, limbs, and breasts into odd shapes and angles. His images are sometimes beautiful, and sometimes disturbing. This is not because of the subject matter, but because of the way the subject matter has been captured.
“Heat” by Roger Camp is a book for any curious mind looking to be stimulated in more ways than one. The richly printed images, slick pages, and strong binding make this a valuable art book for your shelf. The taboo subject matter makes a bold statement and conversation starter. The artist’s intentions make this a book that you will pick up again and again, finding something new and interesting each time.