Frank Cordelle '64
Frank Cordelle '64

"This book is haunting and provocative, deeply so," reads the book jacket on Frank Cordelle's newly published book, Bodies & Souls: The Century Project. Frank recounts, "Back in the early 80's I once bet a friend five bucks that I could complete this in five years! Little did I know it would become my life's work."

So, what has Frank been working on for the past 25 years?  He describes The Century Project as, "a chronological series of nude portraits  of girls/women whose ages collectively span roughly a hundred years from the instant of birth on up."  His website outlines The Century Project's mission statement.  To paraphrase, the project aims at depicting women in their realest forms and, according to the artist, this includes women who are not the typical caricatures that Americans often encounter in the worlds of media and advertising.  Furthermore, the project aims at fostering discussion about subjects that carry a taboo label or conjure up ideas of pain and suffering.  In his book, photographs of women accompanied by personal accounts and stories help the reader to see and experience life in all its varied forms.  

Frank claims that the idea for the project stems from memories of a spa in Germany, where women were at ease with their bodies and those spectating--or not spectating, due to the mutually revealing and relaxed atmosphere.  He posits that Americans, with their puritanical views and Victorian hang-ups, have a skewed perception of physical essence.  The Century project aims to disabuse Americans of notions including sexual obsession, pornography, abuse, violence, and dysfunction.

Frank Cordelle's work has been exhibited on over 60 college campuses--although, never Hamilton's--and is generally at the invite of Women's Studies Faculty and/or Staff Therapists.  It has also been exhibited at numerous professionally run group therapy sessions and church groups.

Frank graduated Hamilton College in 1964 with a degree in political science.  While on the hill, Frank was a member of Theta Delta Chi and participated in men's varsity soccer.  After building and operating a studio in Bennington, New Hampshire and traveling widely throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Guatemala, Frank moved to Oakland, California, where he now resides.

- By Ethan Woods '09

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