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Schone Kunst of Freak show?
1998, A day in the country
Born September, 13, 1939, in Brooklyn, N.Y.
His father was a Jewish glazier, his mother a Roman Catholic who worked in a DDT plant. His parents were unable to transcend their religious differences and the two divorced when Witkin was young, the boy remaining with his mother. He attended grammar school at Saint Cecelia's in Brooklyn, and went on to Grover Cleveland High School.
Beauty has Three Nipples 1998
Beauty Has 3 Nipples (1998)
Witkin credited his father for having instilled his own latent photographic ambitions in his young son:
He took me aside and showed me some clips from Life magazine or Look magazine, the Daily Mirror, or the News (he wasn't a New York Times reader). I was about 5, and I knew when he was showing me these photographs that he was telling me he couldn't do this, but maybe there was a chance that part of him could, somehow, through me. Without saying it, I looked at him, and I knew, and he knew, that I could try.
Ars Moriendi (2007)
In his 1998 book "The Bone House," Witkin claims that his unique visual sensibilities began to churn when, as a small child, he witnessed aterrible car accident in front of his home, in which alittle girl was decapitated. Herecalls her head rollingtohis feet, her dead eyes staring upward. Witkin also cites urban crime photographer Weegee as an early influence.
Objects Near a Window, Paris (2007)
In his 1995 book "Witkin," the photographer writes: "I began making photographs when I was sixteen. That same year, Edward Steichen selected one of my photographs to be included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. That was the beginning of a life devoted to photography."
After high school, Witkin got jobs that would enable him to learn the nuts and bolts of photographic technique. He worked as a color photography printer until he enlisted in the Army in 1961, where he served as a technical sergeant and worked as a photo technician and a photographer, documenting assorted military accidents, until 1964.
Anna Akhmatova 1998
In 1976, Witkin went on to pursue his graduate and postgraduate work in photography at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. While there, he received a Ford Foundation grant in 1977. And in 1978 he married his wife, Cynthia, a tattoo artist. The two live in Albuquerque with their son, Kirsten-Ahanu Witkin, and Mrs. Witkin's lover, Cynthia Cook, and another woman by the name of Barbara Gilbert, whose apparent function is to care for the post-nuclear family's three dogs.
Matisse, Dior glasses and headscarf (2006)