Woman with Claws
Paul Outerbridge, Jr. © 2008 G. Ray Hawkins Gallery, Beverly Hills, California

Paul Outerbridge
American, 1937
Carbro print
15 5/8 x 9 3/4 in.

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Despite my considerable experience in the field of photography, I was for a long time unsure whether I would ever succeed in producing a good carbro print. Many of these pictures were produced with considerable technical difficulties unknown to today's users of more recent and much simpler color materials. Each shot cost $150, and many hours of work were necessary to produce it. Three different shots with varying exposures had to be made with three different color filters. After this, three separate color images each one thousandth of an inch thick had to be transferred onto paper one by one and precisely superimposed one on top of the other.
--Paul Outerbridge

Paul Outerbridge described the practical and technical concerns with making this image, but what of the aesthetic impulse? The photograph has been cropped from the full negative, which included the model's face and slightly more of both arms, to this disturbing image of a woman piercing her own breast and abdomen with the sharp tips of meat packer's gloves. Although Outerbridge described the arduous carbro process, this photograph contains very subdued color. The realistic representation of flesh tone, however, and the lack of pubic hair--it was airbrushed out--make the nude subject even more shocking.