The language of black and white is one of emotion over information. When presented with a black and white image as seen in the study of Rick Caruso’s nudes, the viewer is given a graphic with a tonal range that runs from black to white, and across the myriad ensuing grey tones. A black and white image demands that the viewer organize the tonal range into something recognizable and intellectually comprehensible, and then respond to it emotionally. The viewer’s emotional response is the essence of the image’s success.  

Rick Caruso’s black and white imagery prizes the elegant over the erotic. 

Rick discovered the world of classic nudes as a student of the famed Bob Schultze at the Art Center in Pasadena. Introduced to the nude photography of Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham and Man Ray’s, he made copious notes of their composition and lighting. Under the tutelage of Peter Gowland, inventor the ‘glamour’ style of pin-up photography, Rick was taught the discipline of preparation before initiation; the essential elements of a successful photograph achieved through detailed planning of the composition, scene, model and equipment prior to stepping behind the camera.  .

The images presented here are the result of 48 years in pursuit of the sublime: thoughts from childhood translated into imagery as an adult and artist. Much like Rick’s early landscape of waves and seagulls, his partners drift across the studio floors, walls and ceilings, seeming to defy gravity, floating in sculpted patterns of shape and silhouette. Void of additional props or affectations, and elegantly floated within the frame, he captures both classical and modern dancers, gymnasts and yoga practitioners in a ballet of precise lighting and graceful shape.

The images represent Rick’s personal interest and involvement with his many collaborators. As with all successful artists, his partners contributed their sincere efforts to Rick’s artistic expression, his vision, and this collection of photographs.

Herbert Ascherman