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Sensual Harmonies:

The Nude and the Instruments

96 pages, 12" X 12" hard cover monograph with dustjacket printed on 100 lb. Sterling matte paper

50 duotone photographs


It has often been said that you photograph what you love. And I plead guilty to that charge on two counts. For I have been enchanted and seduced by musical instruments and the wonderful harmonies that have been created for them by the great composers, as well as the subtle and sensual lines of the female nude depicted across the ages by an equal number of visual artists. In this book I have tried to depict the variety of emotions and moods experienced while I worked.

Thomas A Potter


All images scanned as duotones by Friesens, Canada, from traditional silver gelatin Ilford Multigrade IV FB glossy prints.

Negatives were exposed using Mamiya 645 bodies and lenses. Kodak T-MAX 400 film was rated at 180 ASA. Ilford FP4 film was rated at 100 ASA.

Negatives were developed in Kodak XTOL and fixed in Photographers’ Formulary’s TF-4 Archival Rapid Fixer.

Prints were developed in Ilford PQ and fixed in TF-4. Prints were selenium toned and washed for permanence in an Alistair Inglis Cross-Jet Archival Washer.

Dyna-Lite flash units with a variety of soft boxes were used for light control. Several images were created by leaving the focusing light at full power while synchronizing at 1/60 creating an override of glow to the scene.


Wood. Brass. Skin. Hair. Light. Form. Line. From such common elements the alchemist who goes by the name of Thomas Potter has forged precious metal. His images, which meld the infinitely variable female form with the more predictable shapes of musical instruments, unleash a flood of associations. The crisp edge of a dulcimer punctuates the soft contour of a breast.  A fold of hair intensifies the glint of brass. The graceful arc of a hand lightly cradles the smooth surface of a recorder. Texture infuses these images, reminding us how effortlessly photography erects a bridge between our sensations of sight and touch.

Claude Cookman, Ph.D. Indiana University


“Tom’s photographs have a quiet eroticism conveyed by the soft light and gentle touch between the woman and the musical instrument – tactile – wood or metal or string on flesh. These are instruments of pleasure, whether aural, tactile or visual, evoking associations, leading to fantasies.

“Comparisons and contrasts occur through the photographer’s vocabulary….The delicate beauty of the draped…nude from behind is reminiscent of the cello, which takes its form from the nude.”

Paul R. Paletti, Jr., Attorney, photographer, collector, Paul Paletti Gallery, Louisville, KY