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Pope masters the female figure             Dina Pizzuti  Lance Writer

 

In a showing that ran from August 11-17 at the tiny, yet comfortable Artspeak gallery in Windsor, Canadian photographer Bob Pope demonstrated how beauty resides-and in his case, is captured—in the smallest details of life.

Though Pope, a political science and economics graduate from the University of Windsor , has an extraordinary talent for revealing the brilliance in nature, as seen in his many great Canadian landscape photographs, it was his female nude images that demanded all the attention.

There was an appreciation for the female body, and a connection between the figures and their surroundings, that upon viewing, one could not help but be rapturously engaged.

In a photograph titled Maid in Lace, the gilded silhouette of a woman seated in a sea of Queen Anne’s Lace beautifully displays the sensuality of her body and the harmony she has with the nature that encircles her.

In another photo entitled Faerie Dawn, Pope once again captures the relationship between the female body and her environment. In this image, a woman’s body becomes intertwined with a powerful tree, where her limbs seem an extension of its branches.

Pope does not always place his nudes in scenic settings however. Some have man-made backdrops, where the beauty of the figure’s body is framed in a bleak apartment or window shutters, creating “juxtaposition between beauty and ordinary surroundings,” as Pope stated. In this way—creating a harsh contrast between the subjects in a frame—he magnifies the power of the image.

His ability to display such reverie of the female body can make the viewer feel more comfortable in their own skin; a hard task in today’s world. The images are wonderfully romantic and expose the figure with elegance and sensuality.

As for Pope, he plans to continue to make nature and figures the main focus in his works. “They are the eternal subjects,” he explained. After viewing his photographs, one hopes there is a lot more to come from Bob Pope.

For more information on Pope, e-mail him at bobpopephotography@cogeco.ca

 

                                                                                              

BOB POPE

ABSTRACTS, SCENICS, NUDES”   by Dan MacDonald UPFRONT Magazine Apr 04

 

The two most engaging powers (of a photographer) are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.  A hundredth of a second here, a hundredth of a second there-even if you put them end to end, they still only add up to one, two, perhaps three seconds, snatched from eternity.

These two lines seem to perfectly capture the purpose, essence and spirit of the art of photography. And they should, because I ripped them off from French photographer Robert Doisneau and Victorian novelist W.M. Thackeray.

Regardless, both quotes reminded me of local photographer Bob Pope and the thoughts he shared about some of his work, which will be featured in his upcoming showing, An Exhibition of Photography, from April 26 to May 1, 2004 at Artspeak Gallery, 1942 Wyandotte St. E.

With artistic photographs ranging from abstracts to landscapes to nudes, and the three elements over-lapping at times, Pope’s talented eye for beauty and detail is as stunning and awe-inspiring as the subjects he photographs.  His mesmerizing pieces, which focus on both human and natural landscapes, are nothing short of magical, capturing not only the magnificence of nature but also the graceful radiance of the female figure.

“A woman is the most beautiful creation,” said Pope. “And if you capture her in the right

way, in the right light – there just isn’t anything more beautiful.  I can photograph fall leaves, mountains or streams all day long but it doesn’t compare to the beauty of a woman.”In one photograph, titled Lady of the Glen, a woman’s figure is juxtaposed

 against the brilliance of a secluded valley of rock, forest and water.  The photograph, like many of Pope’s, captivate the viewer and draw the eye in, to explore the exquisite detail and superior use of light and colour.

The photograph carries the mysticism and perplexity of a painted depiction of middle earth, a quality that makes much of Pope’s work entrancing and hypnotically beautiful.

Pope’s passion for photography is matched only by his appreciation and wonder for the female form, which the prolific photographer describes with sincere enthusiasm.

“To be an artistic nude photograph is about the way the light plays across the body.  If I want photographs that are evocative that captures the essence of a woman, then I shoot by available light, because that’s how you see a person.  You don’t see them with a flash of light.  That’s what is used in men’s magazines for pornographic images, because they want to see all the crude aspects of the nude.  I’m not after that.  I’m creating something that can hang in someone’s home – something the person could be proud of.  If you can do a nude that your mother likes, or your daughter likes then you have succeeded.  It’s not just about getting someone to take their clothes off.  It’s about capturing the essence of a woman.”

Pope has been an active photographer for nearly four decades, but has kept a relatively low profile in the Windsor art community for quite some time.

The upcoming Artspeak showing is only his second artistic show in almost 31 years.

 

The first show of his career as a photographer was in 1972, for the then fledgling event, Art in the Park.  The show also garnered the artist some of the toughest criticism of his career. “Before I went back to college, the curator of Art in the Park had seen a nude, and an abstract I had taken of Willistead,” says Pope.  “He like them and asked me if I’d put an exhibit in Art and the Park.  So the third day of the show, my mother walked into the booth to see my work, and until this point she had no idea I was doing nudes.  The first thing she said was “Who’s that brazen hussy?” – She didn’t talk to me for days.  Years later, while I was in school studying photography, I left my portfolio out.  I noticed my mother had obviously gone through my portfolio and that day she came up to me and said “You know, you really do beautiful work.” That meant a lot to me.”

Aside from his artistic work, Pope also specializes in photographing pregnant women, in their later stages of pregnancy.  Pope’s photography of pregnant women was recently featured in a baby show, which took place at the Cleary Auditorium.

“Pregnancy is one of the most special times in a woman’s life,” says a thoughtful Pope.   “Never tell a woman in her third trimester that it doesn’t last long – but it doesn’t.  It will be over with very quickly, and sure, you’ll have a baby to show for it – but you won’t have what you were through it.  A photograph captures the essence of that experience through to the time of delivery.  That’s why I’m trying to specialize in this type of image.”

Pope’s upcoming show at Artspeak will feature work from the 1970’s to the present.  The showing will run from April 26 to May 1, 2004 , at Artspeak Gallery, with a reception on Friday, April 30th at 6 p.m.

 

 

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