Photographer Ed Templeton has joined forces with Café Royal Books to create a new zine all about licking. Not as seedy as it initially sounds, it’s an archival look at some of Ed’s images taken over the years that, in some way or another, shows someone licking something. Café Royal Books approached Ed first to collaborate with them and it was a while before Ed landed on a fitting subject.
“I was looking at a recent photo I had shot of a person licking, so on a whim I searched my archive for the word ‘lick’ and found that I have shot a lot of people licking over the years and started compiling a selection from those images,” Ed says. “I never went out trying to get photos of people licking, a lot of my series have come after the fact. I don’t really go out ‘after’ anything when I’m shooting, but rather I start noticing trends and then ideas develop when I’m walking around.”
Once Ed had settled on wandering tongues for the zine, the selection process took about a week of whittling down an edit of potential images. “I was looking for images going back over ten years and one photo in the zine is from as far back as 2003,” says Ed. “Of course within the search for images under the theme ‘lick’ I left out all of the lewd licking images, or images of animals licking in favour of humans licking anything but crotches.”
This conscious shy-away from the salacious or crude, allows the zine to become a small study of human behaviour full of wonderfully captured moments. The images are thoughtfully placed together, with others making the most of their full-bleed shot. With all the photographs coming from Ed’s own archive there’s a more spontaneous nature to the series and in the zine itself – there’s a commonality between them all but it’s not contrived or forced, just coincidence.
“I have always enjoyed typological zines where images are collected by theme. Since my archive is so large it’s a good way to narrow down the selection process,” explains Ed. “At its core you present the viewer with a sample of the human condition as seen through one simple act or gesture, but also from only one photographer’s viewpoint. For me the act of licking was akin to kissing in that the tongue is an internal body part coming out in public to taste something outside of the body. It’s a hard moment to capture candidly as a photographer.
“I liked the rapture on people’s faces as they lose themselves in an ice cream cone, and I liked the idea of seeing that flash of tongue, like you might in a kiss, that window into the animal side of being human.”
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