Chapters (Layout Features)

The Movements of the Soul

Freedberg, David A.

To those who know Philip Trager's previous work, the photographs in this book may come as something of a surprise. Trager established his. reputation as a photographer of buildings; in these new photographs he turns his attention to the human body in motion. These two subjects may seem completely different, but they have one crucial element in common. No one who knows Trager’s photographs of the villas of Palladio or the buildings of Connecticut could fail to have been struck by their landscape settings or by the interaction between buildings and trees. It is precisely this close integration of subject and setting that distinguishes the photographs of dancers in this book as well. For these are not simply photographs of dancers; they are photographs of dancers in landscape.

Body and landscape: these are the two great subjects of Western representation, and Trager’s new work challenges us to rethink both. It lays bare the most fundamental of questions, from the relations of body to earth to the ways in which we construe the gender of bodies and invest them with sexuality. And in making us meditate on subject and setting It raises still further issues: How is our sense of body inflected by its appearance in landscape? What is the relation between emotion, gesture, and landscape, indeed al those parts of nature, tame and wild, that make up what we call landscape? Beside questions such as these, the connection between Trager’s photographs and the traditions and history of representation may seem easier to unravel.


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Also Published In

Bullfinch Press

More About This Work

Academic Units
Art History and Archaeology
Published Here
October 5, 2022