Gunter Blum does not photograph reality; he transforms visions into pictures. Applying the same precision he used to paint and draw, he now plans and constructs his photographic world, full of sensuality and expressive body language.
When he packs his models into riveted bodices, armors their bodies with spikes, turns them into Amazons with whips, or straps them into a picture, demanding the utmost of them, that’s when he’s in his element.
“Strong women, issuing a self-confident challenge, powerful and aggressive, steer a visual confrontation course with the viewer in cool, calculating erotic moments.” –Rainer Wortmann, in an introduction to AKT (Nudes)
According to Art World magazine, “Günter Blum was a German fine art photographer best known for his erotic depictions of nude women. Born on January 16, 1949 in Mannheim, Germany, he studied graphic design and spent the early part of his career creating magazine, book, and album covers.
And, following his death in 1997, his wife, Sylvia, took up the camera and continued his tratidion. Following the lighthearted summer exhibition “Best of ‘ME + CO’ & ‘Pool Party’” by the French-Italian selfie king, Jean Pigozzi, Gallery IMMAGIS in Munich is presenting a first-class double exhibition. “Power Meets Poetry” showcases iconic as well as newly discovered works by photographers Sylvie Blum and Giovanni Gastel, paying tribute to strong women with an attractive juxtaposition of images from the 1990s to the present.
Sylvie Blum (b. 1967, Austria) is a classic example of a model turned photographer. The former model was photographed by the likes of Helmut Newton and Jan Saudek, and after marrying renowned erotic photographer Günter Blum she became his model and muse. Honing her photographic skills at the Mannheim College of Art, she moved behind the camera after Günter Blum’s death. The body of work she has developed since the end of the 1990s, inspired by photographers such as Leni Riefenstahl and Herb Ritts, depicts the female body in highly stylized and aesthetically arranged poses. Blum’s close-up images of brightly painted lips, minimalist portraits, and oiled athletic bodies also reflect her female perspective of her same-sex counterparts.
Sylvie Blum lives and works in Los Angeles, where she is represented by Fahey Klein Gallery.
Giovanni Gastel (b. 1955, Italy) is considered to be the grand seigneur of Italian fashion photography. Like no other, he interweaves poetry with classical commercial photography with a sense of elegance and reverie, while remaining stylistically flexible. The exhibition Power Meets Poetry presents Gastel’s enchanting images of women as angels, his butterfly scenarios, as well as front-facing portraits shot for fashion brands such as Krizia or magazines such as Vogue Spain. Through the air of romance that infuses his images time and again, his female models reveal strength in their stance and gaze. Gastel has drawn on both Renaissance and Pop Art for his work, while his love of poetry finds expression not only through photography but also through his own poems. He is Honorary President of the Association of Italian Professional Photographers, and a permanent member of the Polaroid Museum of Chicago. In 2002, he received fashion’s equivalent of the Oscar for photography at the prestigious Italian event La Kore, Oscar della Moda.
The photography of Günter Blum is well known to most people interested in artistic black and white nude photography. His passing in 1997 left a void where his lens once focused, but his works will live on.