A rare ‘watermark’ from a Boudoir photograph reveals its secrets – and the secrets of the photographers’ minds!

It’s the sort of image that makes a person smile.

The image, taken by photographer John Clements in 1922, was widely circulated. 

But while the image has become an iconic one for Boudouoir photographers, it’s the story behind the image that has become the subject of a new book by photographer David Boudry.

The book, Watermark, tells the story of Clements famous image, and the story it tells of his life.

It was Clements first published photograph, and in the years that followed, it became a favourite amongst photographers and collectors alike.

Its popularity led to Clements being invited to participate in the International Watermark Exhibition in 1922.

This photo is from that event.

As well as exhibiting Clements work, it was also a chance to showcase his watermark image to the world.

After his death in 1932, the image became the subject in a number of articles, many of which are now lost.

“The watermark was so well known and used that it was taken from the image itself,” said Boudury.

“It was the kind of watermark that was meant to be a mark of authenticity, and it was used to identify someone, so it became very important for that person.”

“Watermarks” was published by the Harmony Press in 2008.

Clements work was also featured in the book, but its still unknown whether the watermark would eventually be found.

But as Clements watermark became one of the most recognisable images in Bouduoir, it also became the most sought after.

David Boudy, a watermark collector, has found a watermarked photograph that he’s been able to collect for a number, of years.

The photograph is “Watermark” by John Cules and his wife Mary.

It was taken in 1922 in New York, but was originally taken in London, the year he was awarded the Nobel Prize for photography.

“I’m looking at it in my office and I just have a sort of feeling of awe,” he said.

“I have this sort of recollection that I can’t describe.

I feel like it is an object that I cannot explain, so I’m really trying to find it.”

It took the photographer two years to find the watermarked image, after which it was sent to the Royal Photographic Society.

While researching the book in 2016, Boudoy found an old copy of The Illustrated London News, the publication he had always wanted to own, which had been in a drawer in his office.

Boudury began searching for a photograph to be included in the volume, but found he could not find the image.

However, a year later, he was contacted by an unknown collector.

He contacted the collector, and agreed to publish the photograph as part of Watermark.

And so began the search for the photograph.

In November 2018, David Boulting published Watermark for the first time online.

His collection of watermarked images includes a number that are among the most valuable, including the one above.

There are currently no watermarked photographs available.

Watermark was also published in The Observer in 2015.

When Boultering was contacted, he said the photograph would not be included as part the book.

Instead, he asked the public to send in photos that they had found of watermarks in their collections.

More than 30 people have responded to the invitation to submit watermarked photos, and more than 200 have so far.

A number of people have contacted Boudous asking to take part in the hunt for watermarks, and Boudys collection has been published in an edition called Watermark for collectors.

I’ve found it difficult to get my head around the idea that a photograph would be a water mark, but if it’s a water marker I’m willing to take it.

Read more about the book on Watermarks.co.uk.

Image credits: © David Boulters /Harmonium Press, 2016.

All images via David Bouss Watermarked Photography Collection, 2017