Art, Books September 15, 2011 By Derek Peck

You mentioned that Robert Mapplethorpe’s work is what initially opened your eyes to the power of photography. Can you tell me more about that, and note a couple of other photographers who have been pivotal in developing your viewpoint as a curator and publisher.
Mapplethorpe had an exhibit at the ICA in London in 1983. It got a lot of attention because it was censored — there was one image that you had to be sixteen to view (I was seventeen at the time) a self-portrait of Mapplethorpe looking pretty manic in leather chaps with a bullwhip up his ass. I found it pretty shocking, but apart from that what stayed with me was the really obvious tenet of photography that it gave you access to places that otherwise you really had no hope or business being exposed to. Beyond mere voyeurism — it drew you into a world. Yes it was stylized, yes it had artsy Classical affectations, but it was undeniably real. These guys were not poseurs; they were plucked from a genuinely exotic place, the sex clubs of New York in the 70s and 80s and revealed to me, some spotty kid in London. I soon became fascinated by other worlds that photographers allowed me to indulge in: Helmut Newton’s chic eroticism, Nan Goldin’s downtown scene, Anders Petersen’s Cafe Lehmitz in Hamburg, William Eggleston’s Memphis, Robert Frank’s melancholic America.

What current projects are you working on?
My main projects this fall are to launch of a series of moderately priced monographs produced in small editions (250 to 500 copies). They will introduce a variety of contemporary photographers and reintroduce largely unknown work from the past to a contemporary audience serving as a reflection of Dashwood’s own curatorial theme. I’m also planning to publish two additional books: one by the writer and curator Jocko Weyland called “The Powder” about his obsession with ski culture in the late 70s/early 80s; and the other is a documentary project by English photographer Jack Webb called “Jack Webb Suspects his Parents”. Jack put an ad in the paper in England inviting couples to allow him to photograph them having sex. They are completely non-idealized, non-erotic and both raw and astonishingly beautiful at the same time. We are also planning to co-publish a book with Jason Nocito entitled “I Heart Transylvania”

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