All posts tagged: 1950s

Ordinary Beauty: Revisiting Saul Leiter’s pioneering images

During his lifetime, Saul Leiter (1923–2013) was something of the ignored artist of American photographic history. While his career spanned a time when quintessential New York street photography was defined as swift, sharp and precise, Leiter’s leisured, impressionist style went against the grain. Leiter was a pioneer of colour photography, adventurously using Kodachrome colour slide film well before the likes of William Eggleston and Joel Meyerowitz. As the Guardian’s Sean O’Hagan wrote in Leiter’s obituary, “[his photographs] are as much about evoking an atmosphere as nailing the decisive moment.” A retrospective of the late photographer’s work has just began at The Photographers’ Gallery; the first major public show of his work in the UK features more than 100 works, including early black-and-white and colour photographs, sketchbooks and related materials.     While Leiter’s early black-and-white images were published in LIFE magazine and exhibited in New York and Tokyo, he quickly moved into fashion photography, shooting for Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, British Vogue, Esquire and more. When I speak to Brett Rogers, director of the Soho gallery …

2016-02-26T16:00:03+00:00

The sexually transgressive work of Pierre Molinier, the forgotten Surrealist

In the 1950s, André Breton, the anarchic poet-founder of Surrealism reached out to the Bordeaux painter and photographer Pierre Molinier. He had become obsessed with the man’s work: sexual, dream-like and utterly transgressive. As it turns out, Molinier was both gay and a transvestite, and through his work employed his body and that of acquaintances to create visions of a hybrid identity, unencumbered by traditional gender notions. Intertwined limbs, many-headed creatures and deformed bodies were not just visual references intended to shock; while Molinier’s tended towards the extreme, his exploration of the erotic foreshadowed work by the likes of Cindy Sherman and Robert Mapplethorpe. Earlier this year, London’s Richard Saltoun Gallery played host to the first UK exhibition of his work for over 20 years, and at this year’s Paris Photo, Artcurial are presenting a collection of Molinier’s work for sale. Nearly 200 works by Molinier, including photographs, drawings and personal correspondences have been compiled for the auction on Friday 13th November by Emmanuelle Arsan, a muse of the artist who drew equal inspiration from him …

2015-11-12T19:39:36+00:00

Louis Stettner: A Station of The Metro

A young girl in her Sunday best fixedly follows the pools of light thrown down on the magnificent stone floor, her shadow keeping her company amidst the suits and stoic silence of Penn Station, New York City. On a commuter train drawing out of the station, a business man curls up for some shuteye, the dark windows framing his exhaustion. Louis Stettner’s Penn Station, New York, a new photobook from Thames & Hudson, is full of such theatrical composition and voyeuristic opportunism; momentary observations of the working and office classes in post-war America. “When things work out, it’s like a miracle,” says nonagenarian Louis Stettner, talking from the South of France, from where he’s working on an upcoming nature series.     “I had the light, the camera was very good, a wonderful lens. Film back then was better,” he says. “Today, it would be quite impossible to get permission to photograph in the railway station. A lot of forces came together which made it very favourable.” If time proves the value of anything, as Stettner has often …

2015-11-06T12:04:20+00:00

BJP Staff