All posts tagged: Philip Larkin photography

Philip Larkin, the Auto-Erotic Portrait Photographer Incapable Of Love

In a re-write of a letter titled Letter to a Friend About Girls, addressed to his long-term friend and Oxford contemporary Kingsley Amis, the poet Philip Larkin wrote: Only cameras memorise her face Her clothes would never hang among your interests. Larkin, attempting a more cathartic dialogue with Amis, was discussing the various women who came and went throughout the years, partners who were often ridiculed or dismissed by Amis. Whilst these words belong to an unpublished version of the poem, and were probably not meant to be seen by Amis, it reveals Larkin’s growing fatigue with Amis’s habit of condescending him, which had come to epitomise the two men’s relationship. Larkin accepts his female partners are less attractive, less desirable, than Amis’.  And yet, in writing ‘only cameras memorise her face’, Larkin, usually so apathetic, displays an ability to be both disparaging in his attitude and decisive in his willingness to preserve these women on film. In The Importance of Elsewhere, a new photobook that explores, for the first time, Larkin’s active life as a photographer, we find a much sought after adjunct to …


BJP Staff