, , , , , , ,


Stephan Wurth's Ghost Town

(1/14/2014) Note: apparently, the photos we linked to are no longer available. We’ll see if we can re-link to them somehow.

“An abandoned western gold rush town sets the stage for a photographic fantasy of three beautiful young women.” Ghost Town is the result of Stephan Würth’s lifelong fascination with the American West. — Clic bookstore & gallery

(Note: this review is based on the 21 photos from the book that *were* displayed at Stephan Würth’s website.)

It would appear that Stephan’s main body of work is in fashion photography; all of the photographs included in his “portfolios” section at his website are fashion-related at the time this review is being written.

Stephan Wurth Ghost Town

Though some of the book’s photos remind me of Playboy-esque soft porn, there’s sufficient artistry in his treatment of the subject matter to bring it back into a primarily art-oriented enterprise–though with a fairly obvious sexual fantasy targeted undercurrent.

Stephan Wurth's Ghost Town

I am sure we could endlessly debate whether these photos are “art” or soft porn. I am OK with leaving this an open question.

Stephan Wurth's Ghost Town

What I wonder about more than the art versus porn question is what Würth’s conceptual and visual goals were with this project? For example, take a look at the following two photos from the book:

Stepan Wurth's Ghost Town

Stephan Wurth's Ghost Town

These two photos–and there are more of this sort–seem to be here simply to remind us that we’re in a western ghost town, people; forget those naked women for a moment!

There are a number of purely artsy “detail”-type shots (e.g., a table outside on the plains with a framed photograph of a man that seems to date from early cowboy days) whose purpose seems primarily decorative.

Then, there are these very fashion-oriented photos. For example:

Stephan Wurth's Ghost Town

Stephan Wuth's Ghost Town

There are also some photos of the women that seem very posed and isolated from the ghost town context (e.g., there’s one of a totally nude woman seated on a chair with a plain canvas backdrop…fairly disconnected from her surroundings).

What it comes down to is this: he seems to be going in 3 or 4 different directions at once with these photos, which I think ends up diluting their overall effect.

Don’t get me wrong…I think he’s got some nice photographs in this book. The problem is they seem loosely put together without a clear visual or conceptual direction. Sure they’re all black & white photos–and maybe they all took place in a single ghost town location–but I don’t think that ensures the sort of continuity the human mind yearns for in a singular book-based project.

Does this review mean you shouldn’t purchase the book? Not necessarily. It’s just what I think; you can make up your own mind.

You can see more of Stephan Würth’s Ghost Town project and book at his website. It’s available for purchase at Clic Bookstore & Gallery and other booksellers.

Visit Michael's Art Photography Portfolio at SaatchiArt.com!