Life and career
He graduated with a BFA in Perceptual Psychology and Photography from Marlboro College in 1974, and received an MFA in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1985.
He is best known for his beautifully printed images of nude figures (mostly girls and young women but also some boys and families) taken on beaches in California and France.
Criticism and legal Troubles
Many of Sturges' works feature young girls and boys in the nude. As such, some critics have claimed that his work is disguised child pornography, pretending to be fine art.
As such, in April 1990, FBI agents raided his studio, confiscating his equipment and his work, and alleged he was creating child pornography. The art world and naturist communities were enraged, and publicly defended him. After over a year of investigation, the case was thrown out by a grand jury. Eventually Sturges got most of his work and equipment back.
Later in the same year, his work came under attack by Christian conservatives led by Operation Rescue and Focus on the Family. Protestors picketed at major bookstores around the country which stocked his works. Sturges received more support from civil libertarians and artistic associations. Sturges also defended himself through a series of talks and interviews.
His published collections include:
- The Last Day of Summer (1991, Aperture, NY) ISBN 0893815381
- Radiant Identities (1994, Aperture, NY) ISBN 0893815950
- Evolution of Grace (1994, Gakken, Tokyo) ISBN 4054004253
- Jock Sturges (1996, Scalo, Zürich) ISBN 3908247357
- Jock Sturges: New Work, 1996-2000 (2000, Scalo, Zürich) ISBN 3908247365
- Jock Sturges: Notes (2004, Aperture, NY) ISBN 1931788472
- Jock Sturges (Color Monograph) (2006, Scalo, Zurich) Release November 2006
Other noted publications include:
- Montage (Graham Webb International)
- Standing on Water (Catalogue of Portfolio published by Paul Cava Fine Art, Philadelphia)
- Jock Sturges Color (Catalogue of Portfolio published by Ataraxia, Bensalem)
- Jock Sturges Twenty Five Years (2004, Paul Cava Fine Art/Jock Sturges)
Limited edition portfolios of original photographs:
- Standing On Water (Paul Cava Fine Art, 1991, boxed portolio of ten oversized 20x24 inch gelatin silver photographs)
- Jock Sturges: Twenty-Five Years (Paul Cava Fine Art, 2004, boxed portolio of ten 11x14 inch gelatin silver photographs) http://paulcava.com/jock-sturges-25-years-portfolio.html
- Jock Sturges Platinum Edition of 10 signature platinum photographs (Russell Levin Gallery Monterey California 2007)
His photographs also appear as cover art on three novels by Jennifer McMahon, Promise Not to Tell, Island of Lost Girls and Dismantled, as well as Karl Ove Knausgård's 1998 debut novel Ute av verden (Out of the World). The band Ride used some of his photographs on different releases, i.e.: the Twisterella and Leave them All Behind EPs.
- Jock Sturges (Wikipedia article)