As refreshed and awake as I’m getting at 530 am, I stumble my way into the kitchen for some coffee. This really is a beautiful farmhouse. Built in 1868 so much of it has been lovingly updated to reflect country living in more modern times while keeping true to the quaint and homey feel every farmhouse should have. Making my way through the dining room I notice several drawings and pictures of what appear to be the house from long ago. It’s obvious that even if this home hasn’t been in the family for many generations, the history of the house has been passed down from one owner to another.
Settling down on an over stuffed couch in what is easily my favorite room I take a sip of my coffee and take in my surroundings. The library is painted a rich shade of royal blue and is filled with an eclectic assortment of treasures. Aside from the obvious collection of books, hand painted boats sit on a shelf in front of a gilded mirror which spans almost the length of one wall. Dried flowers sit on a shelf next to family pictures. Across the room a collection of wooden masks stand guard. A trio of intricately carved elephants march proudly next to a lamp and I can see the edges of antique fishing reels peeking from the edge of a higher shelf. A time period replication chandelier set in the center of impressive wooden detailing completes the room’s ambiance.
As I explore the books themselves I find the majority of them are architectural, art, or interior design in context with several well thumbed through books on roomscapes and the art of nineteenth-century decoration. A book on the visual history of eyewear is an interesting anomaly tucked away on a top shelf as is ‘Historic Hotels of America 2003 Directory’ by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. I can imagine quite clearly the places the family who own this farmhouse have visited. Thoughts of them selecting treasured sculptures to bring back home with them make me smile and I head back to the kitchen for a second cup of coffee and perhaps a scone.
It’s just before I finish my second cup of coffee my eyes catch the title of a book on the top most shelf, tucked into the corner of the room, ‘The New Erotic Photography 2’ by Dian Hanson. Wow. Not what I was expecting to find. Looking closer there are several interesting titles on that shelf all of which are of that same theme. It would be a shame to not at least take a peek.
The inside of Hanson’s book is not what one might expect to find. Yes, there are pictures of naked women. Yes, a great many of them are in provocative positions. Yet there is an enormous amount of trust and emotional intimacy the models have with their photographer. The vulnerability and simplicity of many pictures is beautiful. Very little of it is vulgar or overtly sexual.
My favorite part of the book isn’t the pictures, although each brings it’s own special something to the page. It’s the photographer’s descriptions of who and what they choose to photograph From Los Angeles to London, Minnesota, Berlin, or Moscow each photographer states in one way or another they don’t look for perfection in their models they look for openness and honesty. Ultimately, it was the imperfect moments which spoke to them the most.