Link to Charles Nègre below; Joel-Peter Witkin’s image of Isabelle Mège is a direct copy of an image by Nègre of his lover from 1850 (Nègre’s image is the one we see here above and below – click link for Witkin’s). Nègre was one of the earliest professional art photographers, originally a painter. He used photography at first to help with studies towards his painting but moved into photography for its own sake.


Description taken from Photo Humanis International website

“Charles Nègre show us here an almost androgyne body.
The chest of the model vanishes with the pose. Evidently the
intention isn’t to enhance the body of this lady. The position seems
almost painful. The legs are hanging as a pendulum and the leaning
frame makes the image heave. This photography prefigures Charles
Nègre work on movement. The stripes in the floor contribute to the
general atmosphere, that is almost surreal with a strongly geometric
photography. The body as it is presented here does not match with canons of
beauty of the time.” (Photo Humanis International, 2015)

Link to Witkin’s image here:

I will do a formal analysis of this image in A4 and make note of the strange heels which look like they are part of Mège’s body.

Some initial info re shoe fetishism:

I also need to return to the Freud article we looked a very early on regarding Fetishm (pps 324-6 of the Reader)

Isabelle Huppert is a french actor (actress if you must) who has also been photographed many times by international well known photographers, including Joel-Peter Witkin, and released a book/exhibition showing these. The sense you get from them is very different to Mège’s and they appear to be more ‘starry’. Huppert has an actor’s presence and series of masks which Mège does not have, although of course she has her own but they appear to be less theatrical. In fact, looking at pictures of Huppert and comparing, I am struck by a sense that Mège displays much less psychological fragility, which is what we might be forgiven for assuming we see in actors’ images, where in many case they may be described as objectified. She works with the artist but “she is an artist whose medium is other artists”  (Nancy, Heyward, 2016) which suggests she owns her part in the creative process. She is one of the authors of the work. She has co-opted the artist’s contribution rather than the other way around in a long term project that she drives herself.

Images of Huppert here: 

Plus look at Tim Andrews again –

There is something tangibly different here, other than the male/female thing and number of artists involved. Andrews it seems is less discerning. Andrews also posts individual projects on his blog as they arrive. His project is incorporated into a very modern Internet based monologue, ‘using the medium of other artists’. Mège seems almost entirely indifferent to an audience, not quite as much as Vivian Meier might have been, but her drive to do this project is entirely un-reliant on whether or not anyone else sees it.


Female fetishism



2 thoughts on “Notes: A4 Isabelle Mège

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