The Unseen Eye
Photographs from the UnconsciousW.M. Hunt
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In each photograph in this idiosyncratic and compelling collection, the gaze of the subject is averted, the face obscured, or the eyes firmly closed. This catalog of anti-portraiture, amassed over the course of thirty years by New York collector W. M. Hunt, includes works by masters such as Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, Imogen Cunningham, William Klein, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Robert Frank, as well as lesser-known artists and vernacular images. Hunt’s instinctive pursuit manages to evoke a picture of humanity from birth to death, with all the associated nuances of memory, wit, eroticism, fear, grief, and horror.
More than 350 intensely evocative, frequently surreal images are brilliantly sequenced for an unnerving cumulative effect. Most critically, they are drawn together by Hunt’s highly personal monologue that weaves throughout the book. The end result is a series of surprising epiphanies about how and why one collects. This volume is a must for anyone who collects or has considered putting together a collection of their own.
W. M. Hunt is a frequent lecturer on the art of collecting and an adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts, New York. An earlier exhibition of his collection launched to critical acclaim at the Rencontres d’Arles Photographie in 2005 before traveling to the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland, and FOAM, Amsterdam.
William A. Ewing (introduction) is the former director of the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, and has curated a number of international exhibitions on the themes of the body and the face. He is the author of more than a dozen books on diverse aspects of photography.