The Photo Exchange

SAUL LEITER: POST-WAR COLOR at Rose Gallery

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim McKinniss on February 27, 2013
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Photo copyright by Saul Leiter.

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Photo copyright by Saul Leiter.

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Photo copyright by Saul Leiter.

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Photo copyright by Saul Leiter.

ROSEGALLERY is pleased to present SAUL LEITER: POST-WAR COLOR.  Photographs from the late 1940s and 50s will be on view from 16 February through 16 March, 2013.  An opening reception will be held Saturday, 16 February, from 4:30 – 6:30 pm.  A screening of the recent documentary film In No Great Hurry: 13 Life Lessons with Saul Leiter directed by Tomas Leach is scheduled to coincide with the reception.

A pioneer of early color photography, Saul Leiter has been shooting color pictures obsessively since the 1940s.  Largely self-taught, he developed an abstract, lyrical form of photography centering on radically toned representations of metropolitan scenes during the heyday of black and white photography, when relatively few photographs other than those intended for reproduction in magazines or as advertisements were made in color.  By compiling an extensive body of work in color during the medium’s infancy the artist has made a significant contribution to its history and is noted as one of the outstanding figures in post-war photography.

Leiter was born in Pittsburgh in 1923, the son of an internationally renowned Talmudic scholar. Though his family wanted Saul to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a Rabbi, at the age of 23 he left theology school and set off for New York on a midnight bus with dreams of becoming a painter.  The city offered him a fresh start, removed from his Jewish Orthodox upbringing, and ultimately a lifetime of visual inspiration.  It was here that he met Richard Pousette-Dart, one of the younger New York Abstract Expressionists, who introduced him to experimental large-format photographic prints and ultimately inspired Leiter’s interest in the camera as an artistic tool.  From the start, Leiter’s affinity for Abstract Expressionism and color field painting informed his photographic vision, and while his subjects were the city streets and the often unyielding urban visual experience of Manhattan, the poetic underpinnings of his approach; the spare geometry, the semi-abstract, improvisational layering and fragmentation of space, and especially his innovative combinations of color, set him apart from his contemporaries in The New York School like Robert Frank and William Klein, for example.  By exploiting the color distortions inherent in outdated film stock and embracing the color rendition in emulsions available from small manufacturers Leiter created an experimental style, influenced as much by the avant-garde post-war painters whom he admired, as the urban environment in which he dwelt. Art critic Roberta Smith wrote in 2005:

‘Mr. Leiter was a photographer less of people than of perception itself. His painter’s instincts served him well in his emphasis on surface, spatial ambiguity and a lush, carefully calibrated palette. But the abstract allure of his work doesn’t rely on soft focus, a persistent, often irritating photographic ploy, or the stark isolation of details, in the manner of Aaron Siskind or early Harry Callahan. Instead, Mr. Leiter captured the passing illusions of everyday life with a precision that might almost seem scientific, if it weren’t so poetically resonant and visually layered.’

Leiter’s first exhibition of color photography was held in the 1950s at the Artist’s Club, a meeting place for many of the Abstract Expressionists at the time.  Then, in the late 1950s the art director Henry Wolf published his color fashion work in Esquire and later in Harper’s Bazaar.  Leiter continued to work in the fashion world for the next twenty years for such publications as Elle, and British Vogue.  And although Edward Steichen included a group of Leiter’s photographs in the 1953 exhibition Always the Young Strangers at the Museum of Modern Art, as well as twenty of his color images in the MoMA conference Experimental Photography in Color in 1957, for 40 years following, Leiter’s noncommercial work remained virtually unknown to the wider art world.  Since the publication of his monograph, Early Color, by Steidl in 2006, however, Leiter’s photography has experienced a surge of popularity and numerous exhibitions have followed, beginning with the artist’s first major retrospective at the Milwaukee Museum of Art.  His work has also been the subject of solo shows at the Cartier Foundation, Paris; Forma Foundation for Photography, Milan; and Deichtorhallen, Hamburg.

Saul Leiter’s photographs are featured in the book The New York School: Photographs 1936-1963 by Jane Livingston, Appearances: Fashion Photography Since 1945 by Martin Harrison and most recently, Saul Leiter, a catalogue published to accompany the artist’s 2012 retrospective at the House of Photography in Hamburg.  His work is found in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Baltimore Museum of Art; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and many other public and private collections.

The artist currently lives and works in New York City.

This exhibition runs 16 February through 16 March, 2013.

Rose Gallery is located in Santa Monica at Bergamot Station.

2525 Michigan Ave Ste G5 Santa Monica.

(310) 264-8440

 

By Jim McKinniss

The Venice Carnival

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim McKinniss on February 23, 2013
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Photo copyright by Melinda Isachsen

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Photo copyright by Melinda Isachsen

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Photo copyright by Linda Whitney

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Photo copyright by Linda Whitney

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Photo copyright by Chris Whitney

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Photo copyright by Chris Whitney

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Photo copyright by Jim McKinniss

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Photo copyright by Jim McKinniss

I have been traveling to Venice, Italy for the last 6 years to join a group of photographer friends for the annual Carnival.

The following is an ever so brief description of the Carnival.

The Carnival of Venice (Italian: Carnevale di Venezia) is an annual festival, held in Venice, Italy. The Carnival ends with Lent, forty days before Easter on Shove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday ), the day before Ash Wednesday.

It is said that the Carnival of Venice was started from a victory of the “Repubblica della Serenissima”, Venice’s previous name, against the Patriarch of Aquileia, Ulricoin the year 1162. In the honor of this victory, the people started to dance and make reunions in San Marco Square. Apparently, this festival started on that period and became official in the Renaissance. The festival declined during the 18th century.

After a long absence, the Carnival returned to operate in 1979. The Italian government decided to bring back the history and culture of Venice, and sought to use the traditional Carnival as the centerpiece of their efforts. Today, approximately 3 million visitors come to Venice every year for Carnivals. One of the most important events is the contest for the best mask, placed at the last weekend of the Carnival. A jury of international costume and fashion designers votes for “La Maschera più bella”.

By Jim McKinniss

Bill Sosin and Sharon Harper exhibition at dnj Gallery

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim McKinniss on February 20, 2013

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Body Heat Photo copyright by Bill Sosin

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Cityscape copyright by Bill Sosin

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Lightness of Being copyright by Bill Sosin

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Traverse copyright by Bill Sosin

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OMWP_Oct5_6 copyright by Sharon Harper

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OWMP_Sep_25 copyright by Sharon Harper

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Sep_25_Upper_L copyright by Sharon Harper

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SunMoon1 copyright by Sharon Harper

 

dnj Gallery is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibitions, Bill Sosin’s “Proper Souls” in the main gallery, and Sharon Harper’s “From Above and Below” in Gallery II. 

With “Proper Souls,” Sosin heads out into the rainy Chicago landscape to photograph the world through car windows.  As Diane Calder has written, “Bill Sosin employs depth of field like a jazz musician whose mastery of basics allows his music to soar.” (ArtScene, April 2010).  This time he expands on the aesthetic he developed in his earlier “City Rain” series, by inverting the colors of his subjects to create hazy silhouettes that suggest their energy and auras.  Sosin dubs these nearly abstract figures “Proper Souls, common folk unknowingly enveloped in their thermodynamic essence.”

Sosin is a Chicago-based, self-taught photographer whose work has been exhibited throughout the United States.  His work was recently featured in Black and White magazine’s “2013 Single Image Contest Winners Special Issue.”  He has also won many awards for his work, such as the International Lucie Award “Official Selection” in 2009 and the International Color Award from the Photography Masters Cup.

In “From Above and Below,” Harper looks to the skies with work from several different projects.  “One Month, Weather Permitting” consists of long-exposure images of star trails in the night sky over Banff, Alberta, Canada.  Using the camera, Harper is able to capture the otherwise imperceptible paths of stars.  Similarly, in “Sun/Moon (Trying to See Through a Telescope),” Harper explores the limits of sight using a digital camera attached to a telescope.  Neither the naked eye, nor the telescope with all of its distortions and reflections, can accurately see the moon and sun.  As Harper explains, because our visual perception is not perfect, “[w]hat we are left with is the act of trying to see and understand.”  A video installation of aerial views, entitled Landshift, will accompany Harper’s photographs. 

Harper is an Associate Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University.  Her photography has been exhibited widely, including in a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York and group exhibitions at the Noorderlicht Photography Festival at the Belvedere Museum in the Netherlands, the DeCordova Museum in Massachusetts and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Missouri.  Harper’s work is in the collections of numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in Texas.  It is also the subject of a 2012 book, From Above and Below published by Radius Books.

dnj Gallery is located at 2525 michigan avenue, suite J1, santa monica, ca 90404

 SHOW DATES:       March 2  – April 13, 2013

 RECEPTION:           Saturday, March 2, 6 – 8 pm 

 GALLERY HOURS:  Tuesday – Saturday, 11 am – 6 pm

 

For more information or images, please contact Cambra Sklarz at (310) 315-3551 or cambra@dnjgallery.net.