Tilly Losch

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Tilly Losch

Tilly Losch

Tilly Losch

Tilly Losch

Tilly Losch

Tilly Losch

I've been collecting images of Tilly Losch over the past few days. I'm just fascinated by them. I'm trying to pinpoint why, and in doing so, I continually return to these words:

All contents of consciousness are ineffable. Even the simplest sensation is, in its totality, indescribable. Every work of art, therefore, needs to be understood not only as something rendered, but also as a certain handling of the ineffable. In the greatest art, one is always aware of things that cannot be said, of the contradiction between expression and the presence of the inexpressible. Stylistic devices are also techniques of avoidance. The most potent elements in a work of art are, often, its silences.

-Susan Sontag, 'On Style', in Against Interpretation and Other Essays, New York: Picador, 1966, p. 36.

When I look at these images, I feel as if there is a veil, a heavy curtain, between the subject and the viewer. Her whole body is so expressive and yet, ironically, because of its obvious visible signs of artistic expression, it somehow seems incomprehensible, like there is something she's trying to tell her viewer but she can't. I look at these amazing photographs and all I can think of is silence. Rather than being frustrating though, I kind of find this exciting. It reminds me that sometimes I just have to let images be silent, let them assume some sort of momentary power and fascination over me without the need to deconstruct and understand why.

A few other things ...

: : I really enjoyed reading this wonderful article on A Cup of Jo: 8 Confessions of a New Dad by Jo's husband, Alex. One of my best friends recently became a father for the first time and I couldn't help but think of him when I read this. I sent him the link to the article, to which he replied that reading it was like a huge relief because he could just about empathise with every point Alex made. It really got me thinking about men and fatherhood. There is a ton of information out there in women's magazines about motherhood, but you'd have to look pretty hard to find such articles in men's magazines. Every time I pick up a men's magazine all I see is repetitive articles on how to get women into bed, and the like. Gee, how enlightening. Wouldn't it be great if they featured articles such as this one instead?

: : I've been invited to be a panellist for a pre-screening/premiere panel discussion of the new Jane Eyre film here in Australia, and I'm wondering if any of my overseas friends have seen it? I'd love to hear what you thought of it.

All images from here from Life Magazine's collections.


Christine said...

Thanks for sharing her work Hila. These photos are fascinating. I agree, sometimes you just have to let the images have their power over you and not try to understand why. Jane Eyre isn't out here yet but I'm really curious to see it as I loved the director's first film Sin Nombre. I'd be curious to see how he approaches this classic.

Sasha said...

I've seen some of these images before and I was equally stunned by their unmistakable power.

Molly said...

Oh, Hila. I just love what you said, that there seems to be a heavy veil separating the subject and viewer, and a tantalizing silence. What a perfect and highly visual description. Thank you for sharing these images!

And I loooooved the fatherhood post on A Cup of Jo. It actually made me teary, something I was not expecting, and I laughed aloud at his refreshing honesty. I know my husband will appreciate that post, eventually. :)

Solineauxfraises said...

Very nice !

Design Elements said...

beautiful images!

Sarah Morgan said...

These images are truly captivating. I love how you describe the veil between subject and viewer. Such a beautiful analysis.

Caitlin Rose said...

Maybe I'm not supposed to say this after your perceptive explanation of these photos (wink) but she just seems to have so much personality! I love it!

CloudyKim said...

Oh! I've seen some of these pictures before! They are very intriguing, and I think Tilly is beautiful in these mysterious pictures.

Wow, congrats on be invited to the panel! I still haven't seen the new Jane Eyre - it didn't play in a theater near me, so I missed it. I hope it's good though. I loved the BBC version, but I'm always up to see another one.

I hope you'll post about your opinion on it :)

Lyndall said...

I love these photos! They have such a nice feeling to them.

Oh, how exciting to be invited to the Jane Eyre panel! I'm really looking forward to seeing that film. I recently re-read 'Wide Sargasso Sea' as part of my Jane Eyre-ish mood :)

Tana said...

pictures can talk, her hands, son regard,her poses are very expressive.there is something hidden and mysterious in the 5th image.
you'll see new Jane Eyre...great!(looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it)
have a good weekend!

Caitlin Rose said...

Oh, I also wanted to tell you my thoughts on Jane Eyre. The movie was visually stunning, and I was obsessed with the costumes, there's a straw bonnet and top hat that are incredibly beautiful. I thought both Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester were well casted, and I enjoyed their performance. My only complaint was with St. John, who didn't really seem to have any personality whatsoever. My favourite part in Jane Eyre is when Mr. Rochester calls her back and she frees herself from St. John, and in the movie it just didn't really portray the intensity of the moment.

steph. said...

congrats on the jane eyre gig - you'll be great!

tilly is certainly captivating. there's something in her hands in that second one that gets me.

thank you for your kind words about my bike, too. x

(oh my gosh. the word verification for this comment is 'cycle'!)

Sundari said...

That quote from Susan Sontag is quite perfect. It's true there are the quiet, intangible, and silent aspects to a work of art that really make them so touching and luring.

Ella said...

congratulations on your inclusion in the jane eyre film discussion-you're an excellent choice! i thought the movie was actually quite wonderful! mia wasikowska is beyond lovely! i really do hope you like it! :)

in response to your comment, i don't dislike jane eyre (the novel), i actually find some parts of it very interesting and compelling! i just find that bronte's writing is so tedious, and her sentences are paragraphs long! i also really can't stand mr. rochester,....haha :)

have you read jane eyre? i'd really love to hear what you thought of it! :)

odessa said...

hila, congrats on being one of the panelist! i can't wait to hear all about it.

as for the new Jane Eyre movie, i loved it. and i've been wanting to write about it, thanks for reminding me. its such a beautifully photographed film and it reminds me of jane campion's actually. though jane campion is all about stillness while cary fukunaga's camera work in jane eyre is more about the visual movement, if that makes sense. i really hope you will like it too! :)

P R I M O E Z A said...

they're so intriguing and bizarre. i imagine some of the more out these fashion shoots done at the moment will be equally incomprehensible in the future! it's amazing how much visual language changes.

Rebeccak said...

I love the things you share. Her hands are amazing! I am definately going to have a go and expressive hands some time.

Also that link to a dad's reflections are incredible. I just sent it to my sister and her husband who have a 3 month old.

Jazzy E (hivenn) said...

so beautiful. x hivenn

Nancy Baric *negfilm said...

oh i love love love tilly tosch and i am always happy when she is remembered and celebrated!

such wonderous hands!


gracia said...

"It reminds me that sometimes I just have to let images be silent, let them assume some sort of momentary power and fascination over me without the need to deconstruct and understand why."

Yes! That is it. Exactly. Assuredly. That is it.

Amazingly beautiful and intriguingly silent... Thanks for this post, Hila.

Sally said...

Cool photos!

I loved Fukunaga's Jane Eyre. Granted, I went in with low expectations because I read a bad review somewhere....but it really sucks you in, taking you to a setting that feels like a character in itself. I could *feel* the cold! I'm also always intrigued by interpretations bent on conveying intensity and Gothic sensibilities when BBC versions, while perhaps more accurate, can seem so dry...

There were a few minor points of contention but I don't want to spoil anything. Looking forward to your thoughts!

hila said...

christine: I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way :)

sasha: yes, I've seen them around too, and each time, I've also been struck by their power.

molly: my pleasure! and yes, that fatherhood post on a cup of jo was quite touching in its honesty.

solineauxfraises, design elements and jazzy e: agreed!

sarah morgan: thank you.

caitlin rose: you can say whatever you want to say :) and re St. John, yeah, I see what you mean, but he's also quite 'dry' (if severe) in the novel, hmm ...

cloudykim: alas, I'm only able to post a small portion of what I think about it at the moment.

lyndall: I love Wide Sargasso Sea, such a clever novel.

tana: yes, her hands are so expressive, it's almost like they don't need commentary.

steph: my blog is trying to tell you something with that word verification! perhaps a new bike? if the loss of the old one wasn't too devastating, that is ... and thanks, I'm trying not to get nervous :) x

sundari: I thought you'd like it, I actually thought of you when I posted it.

ella: yep, I have definitely read it, and of course, I love it. Mr Rochester isn't quit as dreamy or romantic in the book though :)

odessa: I completely agree with your Campion comparison here, I felt it throughout the film. and thank you for your wonderful post on the film as well.

primoeza/elizabeth: yes, I wonder what future generations will think of our art and fashion ;)

rebeccak: oh so glad you passed along the link to that fatherhood post, that's great!

nancy baric: merci, merci for that link! and lovely new blog nancy.

gracia: my pleasure lovely one. xx

sally: thanks for sharing your perspective on the film, I found what you said really interesting.

andrea despot said...

back in high school i had to create a poster depicting the word "pantomime" and these pictures are eerily similar (down to the sepia tone) to the many i put on my poster! thanks for bringing back the memory :)

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williecross said...

Interesting and well thought through blog, stunning pictures of Tilly, sometime Sixth Countess of Carnarvon. I love these images. Congratulations. Your fellow bloggers may wish to know that following on from my books on Lady Evelyn Stanhope and Elsie Howard, the two Fourth Countesses of Carnarvon and Almina Wombwell, the indefatigable Fifth Countesses of Carnarvon, I have now completed a book on the two Sixth Countesses of Carnarvon. " Catherine and Tilly: Porchey Carnarvon's Two Duped Wives. The Tragic Tales of the Sixth Countesses of Carnarvon" . This will play out for what it’s worth or not alongside Highclere's latest romp on the American refugee Catherine Wendell. My narrative draws on original papers, newspapers and the Wendell papers in Portsmouth Athenaeum, in Maine, USA as well as the good will of members of the Wendell family. It will also be based on interviews and testimony from several people who knew and dearly loved Catherine. The book also includes a long detailed narrative on the life and times of Tilly Losch the great dancer, and bit part actress, an icon of the Twentieth Century, a sort of wonder woman with the combined force of Garbo, Monroe, Madonna and Lady Gaga. Kind Regards, William Cross, FSA Scot.