Saturday, November 23, 2019

"We need to talk....Please... "


Wilhelm von Gloeden (Private collection)

Academic Study

Wilhelm von Gloeden (Private collection)

Sunday, October 27, 2019

What are you thinking about?


Wilhelm von Gloeden — Albumen Print — Details — Private collection

Friday, October 25, 2019


Von Gloeden — Albumen print  (detail) — July 1897
Private collection

"Il Signore Barone was so funny... He spoke Italian with a weird German accent... And instead of "si", he said "ja ja ja"... So funny...

This photo was shot at the San Domenico monastery, in the cloister. Il Barone asked us to undress. The both of us were nude... Actually, at the time, we were used to hang on with our friends totally naked... At the beach, while swimming, while fishing... And sometimes in the mountain as well, at the peak of the heatwave, when we  were looking after our fathers goats...

At that time, I did not understand why Il Signore Barone wanted us to be naked... He was telling us about poets, gods and heroes, about Greeks and Romans, about the beauty of youth, about art and painting...

Il Signore Barone was very kind to us... He was generous too, and he offered small gifts, sometimes money for the photo session. 

Usually, it took quite a lot of time. Il Barone was checking the light, the background. He was cleaning us when we were a bit dirty and dusty, after working in the mountain or in the fields of olive-trees...

He was fine tuning our poses arms, legs, face, gaze, the way we should stand up, the way we should look at him.

Il Signore Gloeden was a true artist, like a painter, and sometimes like a sculptor, when he touched us to turn our body in the right direction, to have the best view on the small of our backs, on our shoulders, on our chests, on our tighs and legs...

"Don't move, don't breathe !  Bellisimi ragazzi, perfetto, grazie tanto, ja ja ja ja ja !"

I should share with you a little secret. 

You probably wonder why I am smiling that way on this photograph...I tried hard to stop a laughter actually...

You know why ? Because while we were standing on each side of this column, with my friend, totally naked, il Padre Alberto, il Priest di Taormina, entered the cloister.

He saw us. he raised his eyes to heaven and we heard: "Madre Dio Madonna Gesu Paster noster Ave Maria..."

Il Barone waved to him: "Hello hello, Padre, buon giorno !!!"

Il Padre Alberto and il Signore Gloeden were wery good friends, actually... Today, I suspect that Alberto was not totally unconcerned about Gloeden's photographs and the boys of Taormina...

Perhaps Il Signore gave him an albumen print of this photo, shot in the San Domenico's cloister, in july 1897, if I remember correctly...

So this is why I smile on this photograph... And just thinking about the Padre entering the cloister  and looking at the two of us, standing nude on each side of the column,   makes me laugh again today, so many years after..."

Von Gloeden Archive, Handwritten diary of G. T. , 1930. Call number: 1930/18

(GT was featured on many Gloeden's photographs. He was one of his favorite models)

Ode to Spring

Blossoming almond-trees
Blossoming boys
The spring is coming...

Taormina, at the end of XIXc century
Wilhelm von Gloeden — Albumen print — Private collection

Monday, October 14, 2019

Helios / Sun / Soleil

Von Gloeden — Albumen print — ca 1899 — Detail
Private collection

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Le berger de Taormina / Taormina's shepherd (featuring Von Gloeden's dog)




Wilhelm von Gloeden — Albumen print — ca 1899 — Private collection

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Boys of Taormina


Wilhelm von Gloeden — Albumen original print — Private collection

Les photographies de von Gloeden racontent des histoires. Elles s'inscrivent dans une tradition, dans une mythologie. Elles sont des poèmes visuels, la traduction visuelle des épigrammes de Straton, Méléagre et autres poètes de la Muse garçonnière. Elles disent le désir et la séduction, la beauté et la jeunesse, l'essence des garçons et l'initiation vers l'âge adulte...

Von Gloeden's photographs tell stories. They belong to a tradition, to a mythology. They are visual poems, the visual translation of Strato, Meleager  and so many other poets of the Mousa paidiké... They tell stories of desire and seduction, of beauty and youth, the essence of boyhood and initiation towards manhood...

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Who were you ? / Qui étais-tu ?



Wilhelm von Gloeden — Portrait (albumen print) — No number on the reverse.
(Private collection)

Qui étais-tu, jeune homme au si beau visage ? 
Quel était ton nom, garçon de Taormina ?
Quelle a été ton histoire, ta vie, ton destin ?

Etais-tu un berger dans les montagnes ?
Cultivais-tu les oliviers ?
Ou étais-tu un marin, un pêcheur ?

A quoi rêves-tu, avec tes beaux yeux perdus dans le vide ?
Sais-tu qu'aujourd'hui ton visage, ton regard me font rêver ?

Je penserai à toi
La prochaine fois 
Que j'irai à Taormina...

Who where you, cute lad with such a beautiful face?
What was your name, boy from Taormina?
What was your story, you life, your fate?

Were you a shepherd in the mountains?
Were you cultivating olive tree?
Or were you a sailor, a fisherman?

What are you dreaming about, with your beautiful eyes lost in the void?
Do you know today your face, your eyes make me dream?

I will remember and think about you
New time
I will go to Taormina

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Portrait sublime / Sublime Portrait

Von Gloeden 
No number, no stamp, no date on the reverse
Albumen print, private collection. 

"Dear Wilhelm,

The portrait I bought from you is now framed and it is on the wall of my bedroom !

It makes me dream... It reminds me so many fond memories of my stay in Taormina, last spring...

Since I attended the photo session, and I remember quite well where and when it took place, I can easily decipher the face expression of your delicious model... Giovanni ? Luigi ? Marco... I am confused...

But I remember... You told him stories... You read poems... Theocritus and Strato's poems, if I am correct...

You told him: "Bellissimo, perfetto, bellissimo ragazzo... Don't move, don't breathe !"

I had the idea of the flower between his lips... "Brilliant idea !" you said...

It was spring in Taormina... Everything was blossoming, trees and... boys...

I love so much this photo, dear Wilhelm... And your model from Taormina too, obviously... He is gorgeous... So classical... He could be a boy from IIId century BC... He is the dreamt ephebe... I just love him... He is my dream, my icon... Please tell him... I am sure he reminds me...

I will try to visit you again next spring... 

Wilhelm, your photographic art is the mirror of my heart, of my soul...

Yours, as always


Von Gloeden Archive, Letter from Philip to W. von Gloeden, September 1896. Call number: 1896/35