Monday, October 30, 2006

Les Krims

I studied Photography back in the day when the greats had names like Diane Arbus, Duane Michaels and Jerry Uelsmann. These artists reigned supreme over the surrealistic realm of darkrooms with emulsion and chemicals.

However one photographer reigned above those I have deemed as the greatest. To me Les Krims was god of all things visual. I first came across a book by Krims in 1970, in which the photo above appeared. I couldn’t tell if the person above was legless or if it was cleaver manipulation on Krims’ behalf.

I spent many hours pouring over Les’s work with a magnifying glass. The detail of his often arranged backgrounds could not be fully appreciated just seeing it on the surface.

A few years ago I Googled Les and found his address in Buffalo, NY. I wrote him a letter to thank him for changing the way I have viewed things over the past 30 years. A week or so later I got a letter from him. He told me of the new digital direction he had taken and included some samples of his work in thumbnail printed at the bottom of his letter. He asked me a question, which invited me to correspond again, which I did. I asked him some questions as well.

I asked why his work seems to have slipped into obscurity and why he seemed to have faded into the background with the other greats only being remembered by those who were students of the art in the 70s. Les did his best to hide the bitterness that he felt in his heart. It seems that one week he was getting awards and commissions, and the next week the National Organization of Women placed him on the hit list as a pornographer. It nearly ruined his career and his teaching position.

Yes, Les photographed nudes, everyone did. He even photographed his mother in the nude, she was a willing model. Les photographed himself in the nude as well. Some shots had sexual innuendo but most were just interesting compositions with a funny, quirky angle.

I have since collected many of his series, Stack O Wheat Murders, Dear Slayers…

If you would like to sample a comprehensive website about his body of work, please visit:

To this day I am touched that one of the early gods of photography took the time to read my words and respond twice. If you are curious as I was, yes, the man in the photo above was legless.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. His pictures are very good. Something in them makes you want to sit and look for a long time... and one or two made me grin in spite of myself.

12:22 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

He and the others mentioned were doing this long before photoshop ever existed.
Michaels and Uelsmann both have web sites as well.

You can find smatterings of Arbus here and there.

2:32 PM  
Blogger greymatters said...

Wow as well.

6:39 PM  
Blogger Nizina Nancy's World said...

oh boy... the guy who writes this must be super sexy to find photos of that sort. or maybe not. i didn't even look at the photos. i'm mostly just typing along because i'm that kind of gal...

2:38 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Incoherant before 5pm. It must be your cold ; )

2:54 PM  

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