A Married Couple’s Pictures of Longing and Repression

The volume is the work of Ken Graves and Eva Lipman, a pair of married photographers who met while shooting a ballroom-dance competition in Ohio, in 1986. Graves died, in 2016, at the age of seventy-four, and the book concludes with a rending note from Lipman: “These pictures were made in collaboration with my partner in life and work, Ken Graves. I will forever be grateful for his love and generosity, his unfailing optimism, and for sharing with me his strange and unique world view. I miss him everyday.”

Thankfully, their joint vision survives him in forty-two fond, funny, and surprising photographs that make up “Restraint and Desire.” Touch is Graves and Lipman’s great subject: they are fascinated by the way that its possibility animates even bodies in isolation. In one picture, boys in military uniforms, perhaps praying or performing a drill, stand at regular intervals from one another. The camera sits between two of them and across from a third, as if the viewer is part of the boys’ severe formation—as if our bodies, too, are subject to the pressures of military geometry and the temptations of raw adolescent physicality.

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