An Embarrassment of Riches: Photographs by Adrian Buckmaster

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Foreword by Susanne Bartsch 

Photographer Adrian Buckmaster is a master of the human form, capturing a cross-section of humanity in all of its glorious diversity, from the ordinary to the extraordinary and everything in between. An Embarrassment of Riches, his first monograph, features nearly 300 gorgeous images, showcasing the multitude of ways in which people present, modify, and adorn their bodies in the pursuit of self-expression. The costumes are as elegant and diverse as the subjects themselves, with ensembles that range from minimal to elaborate—black leather, Victorian ruffles, knitwear, and diaphanous chiffon, not to mention a plethora of hats, wigs, jewels, and tattoos.

While Buckmaster pays utmost attention to these stylistic details, there is a rawness to his portraits that is not found in conventional fashion photography. His subjects are often exposed, not just in the physical sense, but in the pureness of their expressions. Buckmaster elicits unadulterated honesty, allowing his subjects to fully embrace their own unique beauty and eccentricities, while gracefully playing with the boundaries of gender and sexuality. In some instances, subjects return the camera’s gaze with self-assured tenacity. Others capture a
moment of poignant vulnerability, as subjects conceal themselves, self-consciously, with hands or garments.

Arranged in three movements: Imposing, Revealing, and Inventing, An Embarrassment of Riches progresses from traditional portraiture to increasingly intimate portrayals, as subjects expose, create, and invent themselves. Included in this endlessly varied spectrum of characters are Burlesque performers, families, brides, lovers, and all manner of tattoos and body piercings. There are classical reclining nudes, reminiscent of Édouard Manet’s “Olympia” or Titian’s “Sleeping Venus,” dancers with incredible physical strength and dexterity, women costumed as peacocks and geishas, a contortionist inside a trunk, even a green-skinned man, bejeweled like an Indian deity. Provocative, surreal, classic, unique, and always hauntingly beautiful—this collection serves as a breathtaking celebration of humanity, the feelings that bind us together, and the infinitely variegated expressions of beauty.

Adrian Buckmaster is a British-born photographer, residing in New York since 1981. Once in America he decided to begin photographing “beauty” for clients like Revlon, L’Oreal, Kodak, and Colgate-Palmolive, and was the creative photo editor and photographer for Next Fashion magazine. His covers and editorial work ranges from Essence magazine to portraiture of musicians such as Anita Baker, Sade, and others, along with album covers for Elektra Atlantic. His work is regularly included in Huffington Post and Time Out, where he has been documenting the alternative scene since 2000. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he shares a studio with life-partner, fellow traveler, and renowned Burlesque performer, Deity Delgado, and two cats.

Susanne Bartsch is a premier event producer whose outlandish over-the-top monthly parties at the Copacabana in the late 1980s united the haute and demi-monde and made her an icon of New York nightlife, which she remains to this day. Upcoming projects include a major partnership with MoMA PS1, the launch of bARTsch Inspiration, a MAC Cosmetics collaboration, and a retrospective exhibition at the FIT museum. She was born in Switzerland and lives in New York City.

ISBN 978-0-9862500-5-7
272 pages, 10 x 14" inches, hardcover 
295 black and white and four-color photographs 

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Adrian Buckmaster