Title: Cherry

Photographer: Bill Brandt
Author: Mary Karr
Publisher: Viking
Designer: Paul Buckley


Image Title: St. Cyprien, France 1951
Photo Genre: Nude
Book Genre: Memoir

The cover art here is a slightly lesser-known image from Bill Brandt's series of nudes, shot primarily in the 1950's and published in the monograph 'Perspective of the Nude' (Amphoto 1961). The figures from this body of work tend to be highly formal (some are virtual abstractions) and/or dark and dreamlike (the Surrealists, particularly Ernst and Tanguey, come to mind), so it is interesting to see how erotically charged this cover image becomes when combined with the color, type and title of Mary Karr's memoir.

The designer Honi Werner is known for borrowing from famous, and sometimes not so famous, works of art. I have little doubt that she is familiar with Brandt's ouvre, but how conscious an influence it was on her cover design for Jennifer Weiner's 'Good in Bed' (click on 'Point of Interest' in upper right corner) is a matter for debate. In Werner's cover, the surrealist edge of Brandt's original image has been replaced with a kitschy, confection-like eroticism, but the basic form and monumentality of the image remains.