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The Beautiful, the Beatific, and the book, “Barely Private”

Feb 21, 2010 by D. J. Schwartz

Barely Private

Barely Private, the book reviewed herein, is published by the world renowned, and extremely individualistic and highly respected, TASCHEN publishing house, whose humble beginning was started by its founder, Benadict Taschen.

The eponymous name of his international publishing house, is synonymous with book publishing at its finest–including Architecture, Art, Classics, Design, Fashion, Film & Lifestyle, Limited Editions, Pop and Contemporary Culture, and Digital design and innovation:

On the flipside of the cover of Barely Private, is the book’s frontispiece of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, at the Versace Show, in Milan Italy, 1997.

The book has so many glorious, sexy, provocative, and interesting shots of gorgeous women, that it’s impossible nor wise to even try to show more than a few. Get the book and you’ll see what you’re missing as to why TASCHEN and Rusha collaborated with the photographer, Sante D’Orazio, to publish a compendium of more of his fashion forward and stylistic photographs:

Uncensored and Provocative shots of models and artists

A decade after his sizzling debut A Private View, Sante D’Orazio returns with a second volume of photo-diary-scrapbook, covering 1997 to 2008. Uncensored and provocative, D’Orazio’s shots are mounted in collage-style entries framed with candid, handwritten observations. All-night parties and day-long photo sessions provide the light and shade of D’Orazio’s jetset lifestyle—celebrities, models, musicians, actors and artists all feature, in various states of dress and undress. Included here are Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Diane Kruger, Tricia Helfer, Stephanie Seymour, Liz Hurley, Jay-Z, Mickey Rourke, Angelina Jolie, Christina Aguilera, Pam Anderson, Keith Richards, Axl Rose, Damien Hirst, Julian Schnabel and many more. Informal images contrast with posed shots, color with black and white, and outtakes are shown along published photos from the likes of Playboy and Interview. With a keen eye, this New York-based photographer creates a dynamic tableau of moods and styles. Access to this demi-monde is rare; capturing its essence in words and pictures, rarer still. Sante D’Orazio succeeds on both counts. Source: TASCHEN

Christina Aguilera

Sante D’Orazio Jet Set Photographer

Barely Private’s matte finish is in stark contrast to its glossy images inside. Inspired, conceptualized, and photographed over a several year personal and professional odyssey by the world-renowned photographer—Sante D’Orazio:

Jetset fashion photographer Sante D’Orazio’s photo-journal-scrapbook combines rock’n'roll camerawork with candid handwritten observations. Models, celebrities, friends and fashionistas all feature in this collage-diary of life in the fast lane from 1997 to 2008.

Barely Private a Sexy Book of Sexy Women

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston – Biltmore Hotel, Miami, 2003

Barely Private, transports us to another dimension, by simultaneously breaking open closed doors and documenting them; while paradoxically opening our eyes and consciousness into taking us into open doors, where we typically would never be.

The Author, Ed Ruscha and the Photographer’s Art and Imagery Defined

Barely Private’s foreword is penned by Los Angeles’ very own Ed Ruscha, the renowned Pop artist and trustee of the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Ruscha, credited as author, met Brooklyn-born Sante D’Orazio, the book’s photographer and diarist, at the 2005 Venice Biennale (the famous bi-annual art show in the other Venice).

In the foreword, which appears in English, German and French, Ruscha suggests that Venice, Italy’s ubiquitous religious imagery evoked in D’Orazio his “inner priest”; drawing the linguistic connection to the photographer’s given name. Ruscha deems him the “The Saint.”

Also of note is D’Orazio’s friendship with other world famous artists including Cy Twombly, Julien Schnabel, and Jeff Koons.

D’Orazio, in fact, appears on the book’s last page in a self-portrait, dressed in traditional priest’s garb. This depiction is a curious one, given that the majority of the book’s images are more akin to Bacchus than Jesus—however that is the dichotomy and art which defines Taschen’s independent, iconic, original, and eclectic “Take no Prisoners” approach to publishing:

Sante D’Orazio

From that point, D’Orazio carefully crafts and photographs both personally and professionally, his vision, place, and role in the fast paced world of fashion photography. He documents with a multitude of photographs—mostly portraits, nudes, and self-reflective imagery–his subject matter, which also makes him the object of Barely Private.

Fashion In The Fast Lane

Model in Julian Schnabel’s Studio

Model in Julian Schnabel’s Studio, NYC, 2002

Indeed, most pages in Barely Private ­— include D’Orazio’s handwritten daily diary entries — illustrate his personal comings and goings, and lay the groundwork for readers to understand his professional and personal relationships with the celebrities, models, and their cohorts (often including D’Orazio himself) in hedonistic, ordinary, candid, and highly “Barely Private” moments.

D’Orazio documents both himself as the Object with his Subject

Diane Kruger and Sante

Diane Kruger and Sante – Trianon Theatre, Paris, 2005

Throughout the book, D’Orazio documents the riotous antics of the rich and famous — and his own, clearly eager, participation therein.

Barely Private a book of Uncommon Beauty of the Beautiful and Famous

It’s replete with hundreds of visually stunning color and black & white photographs involving subjects as diverse as Sophia Loren, Brooke Shields, the notorious conceptual artist Damien Hirst, Mickey Rourke, Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen, and D’Orazio’s young son (whom he often lovingly references).

Mickey Rourke

Mickey Rourke – Little Italy, New York City, 2006

His locales include beachside family vacation shots, Playboy cover shoots, and other locations around the world of various models, celebrities, and sexy woman too numerous to list, making Barely Private a much-needed book to serve as a permanent reminder of the beauty in our collective culture, locations, history, and people.

Nudity is a common theme and D’Orazio artfully creates his provocative images without being campy or sleazy.

Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren – Milan, 1999

D’Orazio carefully crafted his images by incorporating various lighting techniques, use of props, and creative angles and poses. He also effectively transforms well-known celebrities into characters utilizing evocative imagery, including Julia Roberts as an Italian countryside peasant in mourning, and Penelope Cruz as a troubled Marilyn Monroe.

Trisha Helfer on a Playboy Shoot

Trisha Helfer on a Playboy Shoot- Acapulco, Mexico 2006

The city streets, Caribbean waters, palm-tree fringed bays, crumbling monuments of antiquity, and brightly hued saris all contribute to the odyssey that is Barely Private.

Just as recognizable personalities fuel Barely Private’s intrigue, so too do its featured locales– New York, St. Barth’s, Jamaica, Mexico, India and Italy all provide backdrops for many of the book’s images.

Barely Private and Los Angeles

Penolpe Cruz for Italian Vogue

Penelope Cruz for Italian Vogue – The Goldstein House, Los Angeles, 2001

D’Orazio”s photographic shoots in Los Angeles, corroborate and celebrate his love and attachment to our city. He includes various location shots and memorabilia in Barely Private from here including:

The Chateau Marmont–including a picture of the handwritten personal note from its general manager–a postcard of sunset over the Los Angeles cityscape, and notes evidencing D’Ozario’s photographs, fashion portraits, and visits documenting his decades long sojourn to our most iconic and famous places including The Standard, The Beverly Hills Hotel, the Gagosian Gallery, the Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica, the Book Soup bookstore, the Goldstein House, the Vanity Party in L.A., the Hermitage Hotel, and Virgin Records.

Janet Jackson

Barely Private is firmly grounded as part and parcel of D’Orazio’s work and relationship to Southern Californian’s beauty, imagery, and that which are truly Barely Private and quite stunningly beautiful.

But one thing is for certain: the City of Angels occupies a significant place in the heart and mind of Sante D’Orazio, as the book’s endpapers list.

Hollywood Store
Farmers Market
6333 W. 3rd Street, CT-10
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Beverly Hills Store
354 N. Beverly Drive,
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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One Response to “The Beautiful, the Beatific, and the book, “Barely Private””

  1. Doug McBride says:

    Very sexy stuff, Tom. I like it.


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