Posts Tagged ‘Kate Moss’

Photography | Arthur Elgort’s Big Picture Show

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Linda Evangelista, Dominica, 1990.

AE: ‘Linda was a great model. She did whatever it took to get the job done.’

Arthur Elgort
The Big Picture
Galleria Carla Sozzani
Milan | Italy
6th February > 6th April

In her book Grace, A Memoir (Chatto & Windus, 2012), Grace Coddington, creative director of American Vogue since 1986, described how for his first job for her at British Vogue in 1971, photographer Arthur Elgort sent a group of girls and boys, dressed in the designer Kenzo’s startlingly bright clothes, running through Paris’s Jardin des Tuileries. It was the point at which Elgort’s own career would take off. ‘His pioneering spirit has led us up the snowy mountains of North America, across rivers in China, through India on elephant back, on safari with big game, and home on the range with gangs of cowboys,’ Coddington wrote in her introduction to the monograph, Arthur Elgort: The Big Picture (Steidl 2014).

Elgort would quickly became established as one of the best known and most emulated photographers. With freely moving models, natural light, and a reportage approach, he was a breath of fresh air in fashion photography. His young, pretty models wore less make-up and were casual and lively in front of the camera, moving about freely in outdoor locations. The risks he took with his pictures changed the industry.

Pigeon coop, Brooklyn, New York, 1997

AE: ‘I’ve always liked the immediacy of photography. Either you get the shot or you don’t… Have some fun, and move on to the next subject with no fuss…’

Apollonia, British Vogue, 1971

AE: ’When my career was just beginning I noticed that most of the magazines had plenty of studio photographers – All I saw were models standing still. So I decided to do something else… I took my models out on the streets of New York, Paris, or wherever I was…’

Charlotte Rampling, Paris, 1984

AE: ’I have always liked a girl that was comfortable in front of the camera,
whether she was jumping or posing, smiling or frowning, sitting on a couch or on an elephant in Nepal…’

Kate Moss in Nepal, British Vogue, 1993

AE: ’When I first saw Kate I thought, ‘She’s not very tall and doesn’t seem that special.’ But it didn’t matter. She is incredibly photogenic. Every picture was perfect – she just did it so naturally.’

Azzedine Alaïa and Naomi Campbell, 1987

AE: ’Some of my best pictures were taken when I wasn’t ‘working’ – models getting ready, people on the street, the little moments in between shots… It’s those real moments that can’t be faked.’

Arthur Elgort: The Big Picture at Galleria Carla Sozzani encompasses five decades of Arthur Elgort’s photographic work on French, Italian, British, and American Vogue – magazines for which he continues to work today – as well as about 80 of his personal pictures. He has shot important advertising campaigns for prestigious fashion houses including Chanel, Valentino, and Yves Saint Laurent. His work is exhibited in the permanent collections of the International Center of Photography in New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and in the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas. Elgort has also directed two films, Texas Tenor: The Illinois Jacquet Story (1992), and the documentary Colorado Cowboy (1993), which won the award for Best Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994. In 2011 Elgort received the Board of Directors’ Special Tribute Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

All images courtesy Galleria Carla Sozzani, © Arthur Elgort.
All quotes by the photographer from the monograph Arthur Elgort: The Big Picture, Steidl 2014

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The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you.

The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due must be borne by the source supplier

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Fashion | Supermodel Portraits

Friday, July 4th, 2014

© Dominique Issermann, Kate Moss, Paris, 2004

Supermodels – Then and Now
CWC Gallery
Berlin | Germany
Until 6th September

On the Storm modelling agency’s website, British model Kate Moss’s simple description, height: 5ft 8in / 173cm, bust: 34B, waist: 26 in / 66.04 cm, hips: 35.5in / 90.17 cm, shoes: UK 6.5 / EUR 39.5, hair: blonde light, length: mid-length, eyes: hazel, belies the fact that this week a David Bailey portrait of the supermodel sold for £80,000 at a charity auction in London. Although, aged 16, she had begun modelling for The Face four years before, Moss was barely known when the cult of the supermodel was established in 1990, when Linda Evangelista infamously told US Vogue, ‘We have this expression, Christy (Turlington) and I, ‘We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.’ When Evangelista later quipped to People magazine ‘We don’t vogue, we are Vogue,’ it was pretty much the truth.

© Albert Watson, Christy Turlington, Egypt

© Bruno Bisang, Claudia Schiffer, Paris, 1997

One of the most accomplished models of all time, Evangelista remains the most featured model on the covers of Italian Vogue, was the muse of photographer Steven Meisel and of fashion designers Gianni Versace and Karl Lagerfeld. Strange then that among the generous selection of 24 press images available for Supermodels – Then and Now at Berlin’s CWC Gallery, there is not a single picture of her, an oversight which explains her absence here. Evangelista, however – who, as well as her work with Meisel, has been photographed by Richard Avedon, Gilles Bensimon, Gian Paolo Barbieri, Patrick Demarchelier, Arthur Elgort, Nick Knight, Sante D’Orazio, Norman Parkinson, Irving Penn, Herb Ritts, Paolo Roversi, Francesco Scavullo, Bruce Weber, and Ellen von Unwerth, to name but a few, many of whose images appear in this exhibition – is certainly present in the show itself.

© Brian Duffy, Jean Shrimpton

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Canadian Evangelista, together with Brit Naomi Campbell and American Christy Turlington comprised a triumvirate that was dubbed The Trinity. The trio, augumented by another American Cindy Crawford, with German model Tatjana Patitz, were photographed together by Peter Lindbergh for the cover of the January 1990 issue of British Vogue, and thereafter became known as The Supermodels. There had been big name models before, of course, pictures of whom contribute to the story behind the exhibition – Jean Shrimpton, Penelope Tree, Veruschka, Marie Helvin, Jerry Hall – but while their names may have added a certain cachet to the designers’ clothes they were photographed in, often by great photographers, only Hall crossed over successfully into runway modelling.  Nor did they – aside from perhaps, some years later, Twiggy, and again Hall, both via acting – become world famous personalities in their own right. The names of The Supermodels became as big as those of the biggest movie stars and they were just as big a target for the paparazzi and the gossip columns. Other would-be supermodels followed hot on the heels of the originals, but only Elle Macpherson and Claudia Schiffer achieved a similar level of fame and success.

© Albert Watson, Naomi Campbell, Palm Springs, 1989

© Herb Ritts, Laetitia Casta 2 (for Pirelli Calendar), Malibu, 1998

Paradoxically, Kate Moss, if anything an anti-supermodel at the start of her career, rose metiorically, reaching undreamed of heights in supermodeldom. Gracing 17 W covers, she was named as the magazine’s muse in 2003. She has been the model of choice for more than 30 covers (and counting) of British Vogue, and has modelled major advertising campaigns for almost every high end fashion house in the world. During the past 25 years she has been photographed by every great fashion photographer worth his salt. She has designed clothes for high street brand Topshop – her 2014 collection for the brand, inspired by her own wardrobe will be sold in 40 countries – and handbags for Longchamp, has fragrances named after her, and been the subject of sculpture by Marc Quinn. A model for the mutability of the supermodel, through portraits and nudes by Patrick Demarchelier, Dominique Issermann, Paolo Roversi, Ellen von Unwerth, and Albert Watson, Moss is given a special focus in the CWC exhibition.

Photographs courtesy the photographers and CWC Gallery

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The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you.

The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Photography | Auctions | Portraits of Women

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Modern & Contemporary Photographs
Yann Mouel
Paris, France
Sale: 9th November, 2012

Paris, France
Sale: 16th November, 2012

Paris, France
Sale: 16th & 17th November, 2012

Modern & Contemporary Photography
Villa Grisebach
Berlin, Germany
Exhibition: 23rd–27th November, 2012
Sale: 28th November, 2012

Are real women, as portraiture subjects for photography under-represented? Maybe. A glance through the catalogue of today’s Yann Le Mouel auction of Modern & Contemporary Photographs in Paris – one of four major European photography auctions this month – reveals that of the 261 lots some 42 are portraits of well-known 20th century male figures or groups, among them: politician Fidel Castro, artists Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, musicians Johnny Hallyday, Serge Gainsbourg, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, Billy Idol, fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, and photographer Donald McCullin. Although many unidentified females appear, often nude, partially-clothed or in a couple of instances, pornographic poses, famous or even identified women are rather less in evidence. Of the few labeled ladies, Princess Diana in tiara and pearls, photographed by Patrick Demarchelier, Colette by Janine Niepce and Weegee’s Norma Devine at Sammy’s Bar, New York, 4 December, 1944, strike a bold presence.

To mark the 65th anniversary of Magnum Photos, Sotheby’s Paris is offering a unique set of 65 images dedicated to the nude – an unusual subject for this co-operative, whose photographers are better known for chronicling world events – a very mixed bag of works in which images by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Eve Arnold are included alongside those from the younger generation of Magnum photographers, such as Paolo Pellegrin and Harry Gruyaert. Jane Mansfield and Marylin Monroe are amongst the mainly female subjects, of whom few others are identified. Elsewhere in the same sale, there’s an unusual full length photograph of Lizica Conreanu, Romanian dancer and member of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes posed in a dance position, in the artist’s studio, by sculptor Constantin Brancusi, together with a stark, asymmetrical, untitled head and shoulders portrait of a woman by Dora Maar. Diane Arbus offerings include Woman with a Briefcase and Pocketbook, N.Y.C., 1962 and topless, Waitress, Nudist Camp, N.J., 1963. Bold, explicit images from Helmut Newton’s Big Nudes series, each identified by first name only, are also on offer.

A print of Peter Lindbergh’s The Wild Ones, shot in New York in 1991 that features super-models, Cindy Crawford, Tatjana Patiz, Helena Christensen, Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Karen Mulder and Stephanie Seymour is included in the Christie’s sale in Paris, next weekend. There’s a couple of pictures of Kate Moss, too, and hot American art photographer Alex Prager’s Eva, from the series Week-end, 2009. All beautiful, but do models really count as famous people? Perhaps a few, like Kate Moss, transcend their clothes-horse role and become celebrities, in the process taking on tangible personality. Striking close-ups by Man Ray of mannequins push female anonymity to the limit, however his striking, uncompromising profile of the surrealist artist, Bona, 1955 – who, with a little research, it was possible to discover is Bona de Mandiargues – has profound substance. Peter Beard’s Karen Blixen in Rungstedland for the End of the Game, Dec. 3rd, 1961 is up close and feels very personal. Here too, Cecil Beaton’s multiple-exposure, portrait of actress Beatrice Lillie, shot around 1930, makes a strong statement. Interestingly, (always referred to as ‘first wife of László Moholy-Nagy‘) Lucia Moholy’s 1926 portrait of artist Lily Hilderbrandt, is one of the few images of named women, in these four November auctions, photographed by a woman. Another is Annie Liebovitz’s remarkable Louise Bourgeois, New York, from 1997, being sold at Berlin’s Villa Grisebach, where 184 lots are on offer, varying in content from recent architectural photography by minimalist photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, Boring Photographs, 2000, 468 C-type prints by Martin Parr, and works by Daido Moriyama, to 1950s and 60s images by Will McBride and much earlier stuff from photography pioneers such as Karl Blossfeldt. Images of identifiable women, again, are few in number but there is a very sensuous, sexually-liberated, colour portrait of Marilyn Monroe, shot in 1962, from the man who surely captured her character and vivacity better than any other, Bert Stern – a snip at an estimated €1.000-1.500. There’s also a characterful and beguiling, 1976 close-up by Robert Lebeck of Romy Schneider in a tweed flat cap, smiling, with a cigarette in the corner of her mouth. Jackie Kennedy and her Sister at the Funeral of Robert Kennedy, New York, 1968, by the same photographer and showing the grieving sisters, kneeling side by side, hands clasped in prayer, draws the emotions in another direction. Milton H Greene’s 1952 portrait of Marlene Dietrich – recognisable from her swathe of blonde hair and perfectly-shaped legs – whose face isn’t shown, cleverly turns the negative aspect of anonymity on its head.

Anonymity itself is of course compelling and single names – probably often invented, sometimes with the intention of obscuring the the identity of the sitter or of adding exotic cachet – tantalising. Full, real names, however, lift the veil and bring the viewer into direct contact with the subject, whatever the sex, allowing us the privilege of intimacy and them the dignity of existence and perhaps a deserved place in history.

Images from top
From the Villa Griesbach sale:
Louise Bourjois, New York, 1997
Annie Leibovitz
Gelatin silver print

Marylin Monroe, From ‘The Last Sitting’, 1962
Bert Stern
C-Print, 1978. Kodak-Paper

Marlene Dietrich, 1952
Milton H Greene
Vintage gelatin silver print with gouache

From the Christie’s sale:
Karen Blixen in Rungstedland for the End of the Game, Dec. 3rd, 1961
Peter Beard
Gelatin silver print mounted on cardboard, enhanced with ink, gouache
and blood

Kate Moss, Little Nipple, 2001
Archive Lambda print

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Photography | Freud by Cecil Beaton & David Dawson

Friday, July 13th, 2012

An Artist’s Life: Photographs of Lucian Freud by Cecil Beaton and David Dawson
Sotheby’s London, UK
Selling Exhibition: until 11th August, 2012

It’s probably fair to say that David Dawson’s photographing daily life at Lucian Freud’s studio, and beyond, had its genesis in Bruce Bernard’s photographs of the great British painter. Freud (1922-2011) and Bernard (1928-2000) had been friends since their teens. Curator  and author of fine art and photography books, including his great Phaidon tome Century, Bernard (to whom, incidentally, I owe a debt with regard to my picture editing education – he was picture editor at The Sunday Times Magazine for the first couple of years I was there) sat – or more accurately, stood, in 1992 and sat in 1996 for Freud, having previously had his unusually large head immortalised by the artist in Head of Bruce Bernard, 1985. In the 1990s, Freud, famed for shunning the limelight, uncharacteristically, allowed Bernard, who had been taking photographic portraits of fellow Soho drinkers, artists and luminaries including Francis Bacon and Euan Uglow, to begin photographing him at work in his studio.

Having studied painting at the Royal College of Art – where he was a contemporary of Tracey Emin and Jake and Dinos Chapman – Dawson (b.1960) became Freud’s studio assistant in 1991. It wasn’t until some years later that Dawson – Freud by now used to have a photographer in his studio – picked up his own camera and began to record the day-to-day comings and goings and the work processes happening in front of and around him. After Bruce Bernard’s death in 2000, with unprecedented and now, exclusive, access – Bernard, in any case, having only been a visitor – Dawson was able to capture intimate moments: Freud in deep concentration, Freud applying shaving cream to his face with one of his large brushes (which, although we used it across a double-page spread in Tatler – where I was creative director – I suspect was set up, possibly at the behest of my editor-in-chief, Geordie Greig, himself a regular visitor at Freud’s studio) and to produce images that allow us to see the development of some of Freud’s later paintings.

Freud at Work, Photographs by Bruce Bernard and David Dawson was shown at Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert in 2006. Earlier this year, the same gallery showed Lucian Freud: Studio Life, Photographs by David Dawson. More recently Dawson’s image of Freud painting the Queen was selected for the Whitechapel’s exhibition of works from the Government Art Collection. A selection of Dawson’s pictures of Freud were also shown at the National Portrait Gallery in 2004. Twenty six of these, including those showing the artist painting Hockney and Queen Elizabeth II, and Frank Auerbach visiting the studio, were acquired for the gallery’s collection.

The unlikely juxtaposition of Dawson and Beaton’s photographs in this summer’s selling exhibition of limited edition prints at Sotheby’s, as much as it is revealing about Freud, provides an insight into the characters, aspirations and appetites of both photographers. Dawson comes across as a little shy and somewhat reticent, whereas, by all accounts, Beaton, who produced a prodigious number of self-portraits, was just the opposite.

Sir Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) has a staggering 1,050 portraits in the NPG collection. His career as a portrait photographer took off after meeting the Sitwells in 1926. He signed his first contract with Vogue in 1927 and was associated with the magazine throughout his life. Beaton had been in Hollywood in the 1930s, where he became obsessed with Garbo, whom he continued to photograph throughout her life. He photographed Katherine Hepburn and later Marylin Monroe, of whom he wrote: ‘She romps, she squeals with delight, she leaps on the sofa. She puts a flower stem in her mouth, puffing on a daisy as though it were a cigarette. It is an artless, impromptu, high-spirited, infectiously gay performance. It will probably end in tears.’ During WWII he worked for the Ministry of Information and afterwards took on the additional role of stage designer for film, ballet and opera. In 1965 he was awarded two oscars for his stage production of My Fair Lady. His work has appeared in countless exhibitions and books, the first of which, Beaton by James Danziger – another former Sunday Times Magazine picture editor, now running the eponymous Danziger Projects in New York – was published in 1977, the same year that Sotheby’s acquired the photographer’s estate.

Beaton’s photographs of Freud from the 1950s capture him alone, with friends, with family and with his second wife Caroline Blackwood at Coombe Priory, their Dorset retreat. Although Beaton claimed to be drawn to Freud, whom he described as ‘a true artist and a true Bohemian’ – in some of Beaton’s pictures his subject wears no tie, or if he does it’s ratty and his shirt appears somewhat creased – the painter is portrayed as a clean-shaven, well-quaffed, heroic and brooding figure with movie-star good looks. While Dawson’s photographs are not about Dawson – he often lurks in the background, content to simply tag along behind his elderly master – Beaton had other ideas. While some of his images affect reportage, each one of them is a carefully-controlled portrait. One of these in particular, makes Freud look particularly stiff and awkward as he struggles to look at the camera, in front of the lens of which, Beaton, in one of his surrealist moments, seems to have flung a cyclamen flower and a few leaves – almost definitely montaged in later – that in the final image float above the sitter’s head. At first sight, what appears to be Beaton’s least set up, least theatrical picture of Lucien Freud’s daughter, Annie, 3rd October, 195o, in which she sits on another animal’s back while stroking the nose of a zebra, comes as a refreshing surprise; then one realises that the photographer is playing his usual, for me disappointingly tiresome, games; the zebra is obviously stuffed. Not everyone is as lively as Monroe was but oh, if only Beaton could have allowed a little of the extemporaneous excitement he had captured in his shoot with her to seep into his photographing Freud – as Dawson did so successfully with Kate Moss in Having a cuddle with Kate, 2010… Mind you, some of Dawson’s pictures are more record shot than fine photography: Breakfast at Clarke’s with Stella McCartney, 2008, is just a snap, as is his picture of Bono and Freud breakfasting together. His Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach at the V&A, 2006, however, has the ease and spontaneity of a Lartigue.

Images from top
David Dawson, Having a cuddle with Kate, 2010
Cecil Beaton, Coombe Priory, Dorset, 1956

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Photography | Ellen von Unwerth

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Ellen von Unwerth: Do Not Disturb!
Michael Hoppen Gallery, London, UK
Until 21st July, 2012
You go to D+V Management’s website. Ellen von Unwerth being European, you select the London option rather than USA. You go to Artists + Production, then to Photographers. The list is alphabetical. Few of the names mean an awful lot and at the bottom is Ellen’s. Out of idle curiosity, to see if she’s also listed under USA, you give that a go as well. This time, at the top of the list, is Ellen von Unwerth. Funnily enough, the US list is also alphabetical, but here an exception appears to be made to give prominence to one of the most talented and commercially successful fashion photographers, male or female, of the last 20+ years.

Circus performer, turned model – she modelled for 10 years – turned photographer, Von Unwerth (54) learned how to use a camera from her photographer boyfriend and – after an early shoot with a then unknown Claudia Schiffer for the jeans company Guess? that shot her to fame – quickly became sought after by magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Interview, The Face and i-D. There followed album cover work for Duran Duran, Janet Jackson and later Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, then Rhianna. Among many other celebrities von Unwerth has photographed Kate Moss, Vanessa Paradis, Lindsay Lohan, Dita von Teese, Carla Bruni, Eva Green and Monica Bellucci. Many of these appeared in Fraülein her celebration of our era’s sexiest female icons (Taschen, 2009). Ever popular with the international fashion crowd, she is listed as one of Time magazine’s 100 Fashion Icons. Her major advertising campaigns include Victoria’s Secret, Banana Republic, Lacoste, Diesel, and Chanel. Her acclaimed photo-novella Revenge (Twin Palms, 2002) was accompanied by exhibitions in New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Moscow and Beijing. She’s directed film, too, for fashion houses and made commercials for Revlon and Clinique.
Apart from the up-dating of the fashion content – and much the same could be said of the work of German-Austrian photographer Helmut Newton, who died in 2004 and with whom Frankfurt-born von Unwerth draws obvious comparisons and who she herself has cited as an influence – there is little to differentiate her current work from that which she produced at the start of her career as a photographer. In her case, that’s a good thing because in an era where the real world takes Botox and cosmetic sugery for granted and the imagined world of fashion photography is dominated by artifice – digital images are often retouched to such a degree that the models become little more than sexless avatars, posed within hyper-real environments – von Unwerth’s work remains fresh, genuine, unaffected and good fun. Undoubtedly, to a large degree, this is the result of her continuing preference for using 35mm film cameras. Indeed she was recently quoted in an interview for the online photography magazine, Faded + Blurred, as having said that digital cameras produce images with too much information, that are too sharp, and that you have to spend too much time trying to make them look good. Digital shutters, she has said, have a very slight delay, causing her to miss the shot she has in her head.

In my previous post I wrote about American photographer Ralph Gibson’s photography and described how his pictures appear to exude a close understanding of female sexuality. Von Unwerth’s images are the real deal; the playfulness, the larking around, the intimacy, the very feminine take on erotic fantasy are the result of having a woman, rather than a man, behind the camera. And the the new work doesn’t disappoint; Do Not Disturb! exhibited at London’s prestigious Michael Hoppen Gallery, narrative images shot against the décor of some of the unique and fantastical rooms at the famous Madonna Inn – located mid-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco – is executed in the signature sexy, provocative and imaginative style one expects from the female photographer at the top of my list.

Images from top
Room 77, 2012 © Ellen Von Unwerth
A recent portrait of photographer, Ellen von Unwerth
Room 1002012 © Ellen Von Unwerth
All images (except portrait) from the series Do Not Disturb!

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Stop Press! | Kate Moss Joins NSPCC Iconic Images

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

It was announced this morning that supermodel Kate Moss has donated the above image of herself, photographed by Norwegian photographer Sølve Sundsbø to the sale: Photographs, including the NSPCC Iconic Images, at Bonhams, Knightsbridge, London, UK on 17th May, 2012. Funds raised from the 10 prints on offer will go to the NSPCC’s Rebuilding Childhoods Appeal, which provides therapy for children and young people who have suffered abuse.

See my blog about the sale below

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Taschen Fashion

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Kate Moss by Mario Testino
Taschen £44.99, softback, 228pp

Just when I was thinking we hadn’t seen much or heard anything of Kate Moss for a while, I discover that Taschen are about to release Kate Moss by Mario Testino, a glamorous pictorial biography tracing the history of the close relationship between one of fashion’s most famous photographers and his iconic muse. £44.99 for a softback doesn’t exactly sound like a snip but the cover, with flaps, is printed in silver ink and the format is huge, so it’ll look pretty posh on your coffee table.

Does the recession spell the death of the coffee table book? Please leave a comment

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