by Ben Knight Evans .

Tainted Beauty
Deborah Turbeville at Donna Karan

Deborah Turbeville, famed for her intensely atmospheric mises-en-scène, is the latest photographer to exhibit at Donna Karan's flagship Conduit Street store in Tainted Beauty, a show curated by The Wapping Project's Jules Wright. Following the exhibition of work from fellow female photographer Lillian Bassman, herself a pioneer of post-production experimentation through darkroom bleach and blurring, Turbeville became known in the 1970s for scenes of beauty in mysterious surroundings and her expressive treatment of negatives which often had masking tape, scratches and sepia applied, at times to the point of near-total obliteration.

Set against Helmut Newton's high-powered sensuality of the same era, Turbeville's images may appear faded and blowsy - her pastel women faded Little Edies next to Newton's towering Glamazons of faded grandeur, sensual languor and heightened glamour see Amazonian nymphs set in environs if not sinister, then certainly suspect. Appearing in American and Italian Vogue respectively, Durbeville's Bath House and Women in the Woods series proved uncertainty as the mother of fear in creating great controversy (and accusations of derangement) for their disengaged expressions, occasional states of deshabillé and incongruity of glamour in grime.

With its defined silhouettes created through sensual drapery in an ashen, sepia-stained palette, Karan's autumn/winter collection called 'Pearls of Wisdom' is the ideal setting for Turbeville's images that credit the intelligence of the viewer to interpret their own narrative from the enigmatic.

Tainted Beauty is on display now at Donna Karan, 46 Conduit Street, London W1

1 comment

  1. amy.ireland
    20:24 10 Sep 2011
    Love this photograph, absolutely stunning. Thanks for the heads up Ben I'll be paying a visit to Donna Karan next week...

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