b&w photography in Antibes

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Fine Collector's Car

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Sixties: Photographs By Robert Altman At Idea Generation Gallery

The Sixties: Photographs By Robert Altman At Idea Generation Gallery


Robert Altman, The Sixties. © Robert Altman. The Sixties: Photographs by Robert Altman, will be at the Idea Generation Gallery from 16th July - 29th August 2008. 11 Chance Street, London E2, 020 7749 6851. Admission: Free. www.ideageneration.co.uk

LONDON.- This summer, Idea Generation Gallery invites you to take a trip…down Memory Lane, through Haight-Ashbury and across Golden Gate Park to turn on, tune in, drop out at the naked love-ins and anti-war sit-ins; at the psychedelic be-ins and the politicised happenings and meditate upon the spirit, body and soul of The Sixties - the first UK exhibition from Robert Altman, chief staff photographer of Rolling Stone, at Idea Generation Gallery (on view through 29th August.)

The exhibition brings together 60 of the most powerful images from Altman’s extensive portfolio. As one of the lead Rolling Stone photographers in the magazine’s heyday of the late sixties and early seventies, Altman’s exquisitely candid shots capture the luminaries of every sphere of influence – from politics and music through to the everyday revolutionaries and children of free love – and creates an extraordinary photographic journey through the historic moments of political; social and cultural revolution that have come to define ‘The Sixties’.

Altman’s images provide the ultimate visual narrative to the era; when the contradictory forces & emotions of nascent hippy idealism and free love ran parallel to revolution, radicalism and civil unrest, all of it underscored by an unerring optimism, and a belief - born out of frustration at the status quo, the government and The Man - that change was both necessary and within their grasp.

Altman takes us on a journey through his Sixties - from the very epicentre of the scene as a Rolling Stone photographer - introducing us to the key players on the way. Whether getting us a front row seat at some of the best gigs (including many iconic Rolling Stone front covers); or rallying us to march alongside the protesters; or letting it all hang out with the flower children indulging in some free-love to boot, Altman’s Sixties is the one we all wish we had lived through.

FREE LOVE - Flowers in their hair; wandering free in the Elysian fields of California – the ‘free love’ ideal of the 60’s is one of the most resonant and revered legacies of the period. In a world often consumed with violence and anger, Flower Children – or hippies – put love and sex at the core of everything natural and harmonious. Altman’s own portraits are a testament to the age of innocence, beauty and joy that hippies have come to represent.

THE POLITICS - If there was one thing the Sixties taught its children, it was that they had the power to change the world. And change it they did. As millions of people rose up in protest to fight for what they believed was right across the world, the spirit of revolution manifested itself in a very specific way in America. With their men fighting an unwanted war in Vietnam; and their own racial segregation; the young of the U.S. picked up on the revolu sweeping through the students and streets of Europe and ran with it in their own unique way.

From Jane Fonda at an anti-war rally; to the mass throngs staging be-ins, Altman captures the spirit of revolution as it surged through the country, showing these moments of anarchy and rebellion as they were – passionate; dedicated; thunderous; and in so many cases, effective.

THE PEOPLE The infamous ‘counter-culture’ that has come to define the Sixties in America wouldn’t have existed without certain key people that were making it happen.

Jann Wenner, the founder and publisher of Rolling Stone pioneered journalism that tackled what was happening in the world head on; throwing aside diplomacy and reverence and giving voice to every concern, agitation and protest that its readers felt.

Dennis Hopper’s performance in Easy Rider immortalised the drug culture that was taking place in film, whilst Ken Kesey was living it. Bobby Seale and Kathleen Cleaver fought for rights for African-American’s, while Cesar Chavez led the way for farm workers.

Altman’s images are a catalogue of the influencers, opinion formers and icons of the Sixties, capturing them as they did their bit to shape the increasingly extraordinary world they were living in.

THE MUSIC - If the Sixties were about revolution and rebirth, there was no greater evidence of this than on the music scene.

The British invaded America; psychedelia reigned on the West Coast; Beat poets and avant-garde artists took to the stage at Andy Warhol’s Factory and The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan changed the face of popular music for good.

The Sixties contains landmark images – many of which made the front cover of Rolling Stone - of some of music’s biggest stars, including Mick Jagger; Joni Mitchell, Roger Daltrey, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner; Elton John and numerous others in performance; in conversation.

As artists realised their music could influence people’s hearts and minds, festivals such as Woodstock brought millions of people together in harmony while the chords of popular song responded to the discord in society. Music was the universal medium that transcended generation, class and creed – and, as future generations would realise, time. Altman’s selection of images capture the musical revolution in all its glory.

“For me, The Sixties is the time of Sgt Pepper, Woodstock, the Summer of Love, be-ins, anti-war protests, and everything else in between,” comments Altman. “Part of the magic of The Sixties was that we knew there were thousands and thousands, perhaps millions, of us spread beyond the United States and all across the world,” observes Altman. “I absolutely knew that this was something different and something very special. Those days were unlike any our generation had even heard of before, much less experienced. You might say we lit the fuse to the Roaring Twentieth Century.”

"Having grown up in a what was by contrast a very grey, cold and damp Britain during the 70's & 80's, the idea of late sixties California has always had an almost mythical, dreamy quality – driven, no doubt by the power of Hollywood on an impressionable young mind,’ comments Hector Proud, managing director of Idea Generation Gallery.

“Robert’s images, though, are very much a first person narrative. Of course, he’s a sympathetic observer – he’s photographing his own – but this is nevertheless a true portrayal of his age. The passion for what he was shooting is wonderfully clear, but there’s more to it than that. It’s almost as if he’s distilled the essence of the era - you get a real sense of the drama, excitement, hope, anger, idealism of the time. It makes for some iconic images.

“It's said that The Sixties, and much of what it stood for, began to unravel at the Altamont gig in ‘69 - and that's probably not far from the truth. However, when you look at Robert's images, you realise that the spirit of the sixties will always be alive in these images. He’s captured so many aspects of the era so cleanly, that you practically feel you are there. And I think that's the greatest compliment that you can pay to him; he's ensured that the sixties and what it represented to him & his contemporaries, will endure for as long as we look at these pictures.”

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Jeu de Paume Opens Richard Avedon: Photographs 1946-2004

Jeu de Paume Opens Richard Avedon: Photographs 1946-2004


Twiggy, coiffure de Ara Gallant studio de Paris, janvier 1968. Photographie Richard Avedon. © 2008 the Richard Avedon Foundation.

PARIS.- This exhibition is the first major retrospective of the artist’s work since his death in 2004. After the Louisiana Museum (24 August 2007 to 13 January 2008), it is being presented this summer at the Jeu de Paume Concorde, where it will occupy the entire space.

The exhibition brings together 270 works spanning Richard Avedon’s career from 1946 to 2004. There are of course fashion photographs, but above all there are photographs of figures from the worlds of politics, literature, the arts and show business.

In Paris, at the initiative of Marta Gili, director of the Jeu de Paume, this selection will be enriched by some forty large-format prints from In the American West, the series produced by Avedon from 1979 to 1984.

Richard Avedon started working for Harper’s Bazaar in 1945. He joined Vogue in 1966. His pictures metamorphosed fashion photography, which he found too static and stuffy, by emphasising movement and capturing his models in public spaces such as parks nightclubs and shops. Avedon set out to recreate everyday and social situations, and to give the impression that, as in photojournalism, his photographs were taken spontaneously, on the spur of the moment.

After the Second World War the supremacy of New York meant that its fashion photographers were sent over to Paris to photograph the European collections. Avedon regularly photographed the designs of the major Parisian couture houses through to 1984.

In the 1960s Avedon went back to the studio and the neutral background in order highlight the beauty and mobility of his subjects.

In parallel to his fashion photographs, Richard Avedon made numerous portraits, radically transforming the codes of genre, as did that other great American photographer, Irving Penn.

But Avedon went even further than Penn. He shattered the iconic images of the stars of show business, literature, the arts and the political elite in the United States. His portraits show all the facets of his models’ personality, however great their mastery of the codes of representation. The use of white grounds, the bareness of the compositions, helped to bring a searching psychological dimension to each subject.

Generally speaking, Avedon sought to capture the true nature of things rather than to reproduce them superficially. During his photography sessions, he sought out that very special moment when he could capture and set down the psychological intensity emanating from the sitter. For, to photograph someone “meant looking beyond the charm of the face and establishing a relation between the vital presence of the other and his own, that is to say, finding the moment when everything converged and happened.”

“(…) In the American West was the result of a commission from the Amon Carter Museum of Fort Worth, in Texas. From 1979 to 1984, Avedon photographed men and women in the American West, most of them working folk. In the process, he travelled across several states of the Great Plains and the Rockies, paying special attention to specific sites and events such as ranches, coalmines, cattle fairs, oil wells, slaughterhouses, truck stops, modest diners and offices. He photographed the homeless, housewives, cowboys, miners, prisoners and rodeo riders. His strategy was to build up a network of portraits, weaving a series of psychological, sociological, physical and familial connections between these individuals who had never met. All the photos in this series were taken in broad daylight and outdoors, looking for a certain quality of shadow, against a simple white paper backdrop hung on the side of a truck.

The uncompromising photographs that resulted caused quite a controversy when they were first shown in Texas because of Avedon’s “demystifying” vision of that Promised Land, the American West, that land of pioneers and conquerors.” (Marta Gili, from the preface to the catalogue)

Richard Avedon put his talent as a photographer at the service of the social causes and political evens that shook American society in the 1960s and 70s. He made several reports on the Civil Rights movements in the South (1963), the Ku Klux Klan, and psychiatric hospitals.

A pacifist, he photographed hippies demonstrating against the Vietnam War in 1969, and travelled to the country in 1971 to make portraits of the army leaders and of napalm victims.

For the French magazine Égoïste he covered the meeting of East and West Berliners at the Brandenburg Gates on 31 December 1989 and 1 January 1990, less than two months after the fall of the Wall.