Paul Outerbridge, ‘Girl with Fan,’ 1936, and ‘The Shower,’ 1937
Because Mr. Martineau is a reserved young man, his essay doesn’t place Mr. Outerbridge in the context of the culture of the time. That is a good thing, because such placement would have revealed that Mr. Outerbridge was a filthy, lusty, perverted young man. In the mid-1930s, when Mr. Outerbridge was taking nude, color, breasts-baring, pubis-exposing, stockings-with-seems-up-the-back-gazing, women-in-exotic-costumes-with-cleavage-baring, long-legs-in-high-heels-and-nothing-else-wearing pictures, Mr. Hartwig, photographers were considerably tamer. The pictures of young women known now known as “cheesecake” featured appropriately clothed, wholesome young ladies. They were also generally black-and-white pictures, which prevented young men from thinking thoughts that were too impure. In Mr. Outerbridge’s pictures the flesh of the young ladies he photographs has a lovely, alabaster, life-like, malleable quality — quite an accomplishment for the mid-1930s and a demonstration of Mr. Outerbridge’s mastery of the time-consuming carbro process.