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Rêves de Femmes

Renée Jacobs


Rêves de Femmes

Renée Jacobs’ work is the result of a very personal vision and interpretation of women. The female form is her intimate sketchpad.

Life is a dream and Renée treats us to exquisite images that are a magical feast for the eyes of the beholder.

You open this intimate volume and almost feel you are intruding. You are walking past an open door and witnessing beauty unfolding without the subject being aware you are looking in. Apparitions and fantasies, their story is left to our imagination. Is the ambiguity deliberate? Leafing through the pages, you become a voyeur; you experience a guilty pleasure, un léger frisson, catching a glimpse of forbidden private moments. These woman are not accessible, they are lost in their dreams. They do not play to the camera or the viewer yet the intimacy and sensuality of the captured instant is palpable.

What stories lie behind these images?

Who are these women? Where do they come from? What do they do? All the women in this book are beautiful but they are not models, their beauty is unconventional. Some have traveled half way around the world to sit for Renée. What draws them to her lens? Photography is an act of seduction and women see women in a different way than men do. A woman photographs a woman the way she would like to look and be photographed. The fact that most of these images give the impression of being caught rather than planned adds a delicate touch to this reverie.

The back of a woman’s head in water conjures Baudelaire’s poem La Chevelure

Longtemps! toujours! ma main dans ta crinière lourde
Sèmera le rubis, la perle et le saphir,
Afin qu’à mon désir tu ne sois jamais sourde!                                                                 N’es-tu pas l’oasis où je rêve,et la gourde
Où je hume à longs traits le vin du souvenir?

Fear not! Upon this savage mane for ever thy lord                                                               Will sow pearls, sapphires, rubies, every stone that gleams,                                                 To keep thee faithful! Art not thou the sycamored                                                         Oasis whither my thoughts journey, and the dark gourd                                     Whereof I drink in long slow draughts the wine of dreams? (George Dillon & Edna St. Vincent Millay, Flowers of Evil (NY: Harper and Brothers, 1936)

Even when the subject looks into the camera, you are not sure they are looking at you, but rather introspectively at themselves, exploring their fantasy. A naked adolescent on a horse reinvents the Lady Godiva myth. There is a purity about the image and her nudity is not provocative, you could not imagine her any other way. Women loving each other, in their secret garden, again you are not a participant but an invisible observer. You are left with the impression that they are lost in their very own private world.

There is a certain innocence about each and every one of these women, a questioning look that asks “Do you love me?”

Douglas and Francoise Kirkland                                                                                Los Angeles April 11, 2014

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