Libido: Reviews: Obsessions
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Orgasm photography by Tony Ward

By Jack Hafferkamp

0bsessions is a good name for Tony Ward's big new book of dramatically sexual images.

As Ward's friend George Pitts explains in his afterward, "Sexiness, and its many visual configurations, is the mirage of desire, steeped in the routines of pornography, the finer intentions of art, and the indiscreet charms of Fashion. Tony Ward explores all these routes, often in an uneasy layered alliance, as well as paths so mentally plotted out that to describe them would be at once futile and banal."

Libido is proud to present this portfolio from the book largely because of the way the photos put in clear relief the collaboration necessary between male photographer and female model as they ramble together down the borderline of his imagination. Obsessions' starkly grainy, much-pushed black-and- white images abstract that equation and reformulate it in a way that adds a dreamy sensuality to some hard sexual edges.

Philadelphia born (1955), Tony Ward holds a Masters in Fine Arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology. And both the professional craft and artistic sensibilities he brings to these photos elevate them to a rarefied region where the idea and implication of an image are at least as important as the content.

In an era of full-color over saturation, Tony Ward reasserts the erotic and intellectual power of the black-and-white image.

Obsessions photography by Tony Ward with an essay by A.D. Coleman and an afterward by George Pitts (Edition Stemmle, 1998. ISBN: 3-908162-99-8. 130 duotone photos, $70 cloth).

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