From Ellyn Kail’s post concerning Chuck Samuels’s exhibition at ClampArt:
For “Before the Camera,” Montréal-based photographer Chuck Samuels confronts the objectification of the female body by casting himself as the heroine of history’s most recognizable nude portraits. For each, he surrendered himself entirely to the gaze of others—much like the original nudes would have— handing off the responsibility of directing and snapping the photos to various friends, most of whom were women.
For each of the twelve images, now on view at ClampArt, Samuels carefully reproduced the original photo, right down to the size and presentation of the prints themselves. The idea came about while the artist was an MFA student in the 1980s, during which time he read seminal feminist texts on the male gaze. He chose the original photos based on those that had ingrained themselves most deeply in his memory, and prior to reproducing them, he spent time researching the techniques used by each artist. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these familiar images are in many cases those that have helped establish the ways in which we consume the female body; here, the male body looks precarious and out-of-place, even when every detail is executed meticulously.