Jun 7th 2019

Objects of Desire

@ Oliva Gallery

3816 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Opening Friday, June 7th, from 5PM - 10PM

On view through Sunday, June 30th

Oliva Gallery is proud to present Objects of Desire, a collaboration with Kate Roth & Printlab.

Photographer Kate Roth acquired these boudoir photographs through Mario Aranda who owned Cielo Vivo, a shop that used to be on Milwaukee avenue in Wicker Park, Chicago. He told Roth of an elderly man dropping off a large box of assorted items that he wanted to sell at his shop. Inside this box was a cigar box of negatives which Mario gave her: “you’re a photographer and you should have these.”

These photographs led Roth down a road of investigation where she discovered the “Camera Clubs” of the 1950s when, under Eisenhower, it was illegal to sell nude photographs. Therefore the only way to have any was to make them yourself. The 35mm camera and camera clubs made this possible. The premise was simple: if you and a couple of buddies each put a couple of bucks together, you could hire a model, aspiring actresses willing to undress for an hourly rate. Composition was basic. The model would pose, everyone would take pictures, and then you’d repeat the process. It worked out well for everyone involved. And as it became more popular, the laws got more and more strict. The circumvention to the laws was to take the nudity out of the equation: this was an acceptable solution to “everyone”. We’d called them “figure study” for the photographer. Keep in mind this is a few years after the US government had made abundant use of pin-up photographs as recruiting propaganda, and to lift the spirits of soldiers on the field during WWII…

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