© Frank Horvat, late 1950s, Cabaret ‘Le Sphinx’ (from the series ‘Strip-Tease’), Paris
Between 1962 and 1963, Frank Horvat worked on his book project Strip-Tease, published in 1963 by Éditions Rencontre in Lausanne as part of the series Eintritt frei (original title: J’aime … ). The project assembles photographs of scantily clad and nude ladies taken at various establishments and nightclubs in late-1950s Paris.
Taken at the cabaret “Le Sphinx” on Rue Pigalle, above photographs depict scenes that appear like cutouts, photographed from slightly below, thus imitating the audience’s perspective on the stage show. The “strip-teaseuses”, as Horvat calls the dancers, are sometimes shown only dimly or partially; the focus is on their bodies, often in mid-motion, and on the desirous gaze of the male audience.
The images from “Le Sphinx” reflect Horvat’s journalistic aesthetics favouring miniature camera pictures as well as his sense for spontaneous image composition, arising from the moment.
The Italian photographer who started out as a photo journalist worked mainly as a reporter during the 1950s; from 1958 to 1961 he was a member of Magnum. However, Frank Horvat is mainly known for his expressive fashion shots, mostly taken with a Leica, which he published in magazines like Jardin des Modes, Harper’s Bazaar or Vogue. They are governed by a tension-filled, spontaneous visual aesthetic which is also clearly reflected by the Strip-Tease photographs. (+)
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