Douglas Stockdale on Renee Jacobs PARIS

Douglas Stockdale, b. 1949, Pennsylvania (American) is a visual artist located in Southern California and the Senior Editor & founder of PhotoBook Journal, the contemporary photobook review magazine. He also journals on his personal art-photo-blog Singular Images.

USA – 



Renee Jacobs (American, born 1962, Philadelphia, PA, resides in Los Angeles, CA) recent photobook titled Renee Jacobs’ Paris is situated within the French city of Paris and is about the romantic essence of what this city represents. Paris is a very romantic destination, perhaps at the top of the 10 most romantic destinations in the world. Romance is an ever present undercurrent in Paris, as even the French language is considered a Romantic language. This is Jacob’s investigation of Eros in the City of Love.

Jacobs’s lyrical black and white photographs run the full gamut of the female nude; intimate portraits, playful and suggestive, to the very sensual and smoking hot erotic pose. Her subjects are strong women that directly gaze into the camera lens, connecting with the photographer as well as confronting the reader.




Alexander Scholz, the Editor and Publisher states; This book is the very example of a photographer of the female nude who has a social vision, a vision of freedom, secrets, desires, fantasies, dreams and liberty. The important thing here is that the artist does not simply use models for her idea of PARIS. Her art, her entire purpose, is to make a collaborative project, a project for her models, as well, models she knows, not anonymous models from a database or an agency. Beyond sexy, her photographs are dreamy and secretive, daring and alluring. Her subjects give Renée their trust and the result is a collaborative journey which fulfills fantasies, reveals outrageous seductions and most importantly expresses the power of woman.

Evident  is a strong undercurrent of daring voyeurism and sexual fantasy;  her subjects frequently posing in various states of undress in public locations, both during the day and well into the night, on the street, outside of café’s, an evening ride of a merry-go-round and on the nigh-time steps of public buildings. Jacobs captures a momentary change in pose as her models reveals what playful lingerie lurks beneath a overcoat, a subtle and provocative shift in the seating position on a bench or a purposefully repositioning of a blouse or dress at an event. Similarly, another sexual undercurrent is female bondage, as subtle as her subject’s binding attire to the explicit, as of her prone nude model with her lightly bound hands positioned over her head.




Jacobs imbues an emotional quality, almost surreal, into her photographs.  She creates a sense of dynamic movement within her images that suggests that is not a static pose or situation. Her models are blurred, moving in and out of focus, which provides an almost abstract quality. Many of these blurred images create a feeling of sexual tension that pervades this photobook.

Jacobs’s erotic photographs are created as much for a woman’s gaze as a man’s.

The large beautifully printed photobook is perfect bound with stiff covers and an illustrated dust jacket. Hidden inside the dust jack and in conjunction with front endpaper are the only color photographs of this project. The introduction is provided by John Wood, with the text in English. The book does not have either pagination or captions; regretfully the lack of the former creates difficulty in following Wood’s essay, while the latter is in keeping the imagination unfettered.


 Douglas Stockdale is a photographer, author and writer when not working his day job.


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