My Wonderful Accidental Discovery of Jean Geiser


How It Happened

In some neighborhoods the people are in such close contact with each other they all gather at one’s house to watch football games, and barbecues or poker nights are always open invitation affairs. Still in other places, neighbors routinely go about their separate lives for years without uttering a word to each other, aside from the occasional hello.

I happen to live in one of the latter places, so when I received mail for my new neighbor, I couldn’t resist the urge to Google her name and see what came up. I know, sounds creepy, right? Well, I felt so too for a second, but then I reminded myself that I live in the same house as this person, she being just downstairs from my apartment. We are the only tenants in the split home, and I felt justified in wanting to know if there was any chance she would be cooking meth or having occult meetings down there. I realize I could have just knocked on her door and said “hi, I’m the guy who lives downstairs who you’ve made no effort to say hello to for months. Can I get your resume and references so I know you’re not a serial killer?” I decided Google was easier.

Aaaanyway… I didn’t find out anything about her but what I did find was a photographer by the name of Jean Geiser (1848-1923). Originally from Switzerland, Geiser moved to Algeria in the 1850’s with his parents. He inherited his passion for photography from his mother, who ran a portrait studio with a partner in Algiers. He went on to open his own atelier after his father passed away and his mother returned to Switzerland. In the years that followed, he became the most famous of erotic nude photographers, especially in the postcard format which was becoming all the rage in the late 1800’s.

Just take a look at some of these beautiful vintage photographs from such exotic places as Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria:

Nude Photography of Jean Geiser

So what did you think? Be sure to let me know in the comments section below. Boudior photography has been around about as long as the camera, and some of the newer stuff you can find out there is nice. But there’s something especially exciting to me in discovering rare vintage photos, long forgotten in a world of media over-saturation. The very idea of travelling to a distant exotic land long ago and capturing natural beauty in any form is intoxicating, but I can’t think of any natural beauty more alluring than the female form.

It’s funny to think about how for the time these images were considered pornographic, especially when you consider the mass amount of graphic porn available at the click of a mouse today. It’s unfortunate how the deluge of smut pedaling in our society today has desensitized people to the high art of erotic photography. It has become devalued and unappreciated in a world looking for the next “2 Girls One Cup” extreme video. I don’t know (or care) if you enjoy porn, but could you imagine living in an era when maybe 3-4 of these postcards were your entire porn collection?

If you would like to know more about this featured photographer and his contemporaries, I found Helmut-Schmidt to be a great resource.


Thoughts? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you. If you happen to know of any other photographers to check out please let me know!