Donigan Cumming
Pretty Ribbons by Donigan Cumming (Photographer), Hans-Michael Herzog (Editor)


Contemporary public morals place strong taboos on the subjects of the aging body and physical intimacy. Cumming breaks both taboos in his photography. It is remarkable that neither images regularly in the public eye, such as those we encounter in television, nor photographic images used in advertising (the best recent example being the controversial Benetton ads) show much respect any more for the privacy of individuals. People are defenseless against exploitation as instruments of the spectacular on live television. And no one would find fault with them for being what they are. Yet Nettie Harris, Cumming’s female protagonist (a former journalist and actress who died in Montreal in the fall of 1993 at the age of 81), not only accepted responsibility for her physical condition but agreed to a public presentation of her aging,
life-worn body in all its intimacy. Maintaining the balance between touching dignity and the fascination of the grotesque, Donigan Cumming gives shape to an essential reality in stunningly powerful pictures full of inner and outward beauty.

Pretty Ribbons
Hans-Michael Herzog, ed. Kilchberg - Zurich: Edition Stemmle AG, 1996. Hardcover - 132 pages :ill.; 290 x 243 mm

English edition ISBN: 3-905514-82-6

German edition ISBN: 3-905514-81-8