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CINQ is a most appropriate title for this, another very fine artistic collection of photographs by Fred Goudon presented in the high quality we have grown to expect from the publishing house of Bruno Gmünder Verlag. Not only is this Goudon's fifth books published over the last ten years (BEDTIME STORIES, AQUA, SUNDAY MORNING, VIRILITY and now CINQ), but it is also related the the fifth element - water, fire, earth, wind, LOVE! The book is published on the finest paper, is very large in dimensions making the photographs, both in black and white and in color, a size that one would expect to see on a gallery or museum wall. As is the trademark of Fred Goudon he has a cadre of some of the most beautiful male models before the camera today.
Interspersed throughout the pages of this book are notes to Goudon or about Goudon from his own models and each of the models writing these homage-like messages - words praising his talent and his friendship and his loyalty to both his art and his friends, the models. There is a brief INTRO, and the other messages are titled PASSION, RITUEL, TALENT, GIFT, SURPRISE, PLAISSIR, and ART: half are in French and half in English, reflecting the two homes of Goudon - Los Angeles and France. But on to the content.
Fred Goudon appears with each book to grow more sensitive to composition, to light, to communicating the inner feelings of the models with whom he works, and to finding more fascinating locations for filming. In CINQ (being in synch!) many of the images are very pensive, quiet moments of repose and Goudon is able to capture that whether it be on the bed, in the studio, or in fields or by water. He emphasizes portraits of these perfect specimens of the male species in many head and shoulder photographs, managing to let the faces - eyes, lips, facial muscles - offer as sensual an appeal as when he elects to frame the entire body, clothed or no. His use of color is vibrantly sunlit when the situation calls for that or muted, near pastel when the light from outside barely illuminates the room in which the model poses. He allows the elements of joy, of shyness, of vulnerability, and of pure animal sensuality to hover on the page in the artwork he has created in tandem with his models.
Leafing through this classy book one is struck by the lack of need to show complete frontal nudity - not usually the case in books of this genre. And at book's close it is apparent why Goudon elected to make this exception: these naturally handsome and virile men are all the more sensuous because of what is not said, what is not seen, what is left to the imagination. It is glowingly successful. Grady Harp, August 10