BA Phot

Huxley-Parlour Gallery Masters of Photography, 2019

30th November 2019

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There is something refreshing about this size and type of exhibition, a modestly-sized private gallery showing 30-or-so photographs and only one or two images by each photographer (well, three for the Bechers, but that's a triptych).

Vivian Maier's show in colour at the same gallery in September fitted nicely, but this is even more entertaining with a breadth of imagery and the additional pleasure of seeing whether one could identify the artist before looking at the listing.

They are shown in the order they appeared in the gallery. The selection is entirely subjective.

Irving Penn Robert Mapplethorpe Cindy Sherman Herb Ritts Andy Warhol
Box A
1. Irving Penn, Cigarette 42, New York, 1972
2. Robert Mapplethorpe, Tulips, 1988
3. Cindy Sherman, Untitled, (‘Madonna’), 1975
4. Herb Ritts, Versace Dress Back View, El Mirage, 1990
5. Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait in Drag, 1981
© the artists or their estates

There was another Penn of The Duchess of Windsor in 1948, a full length portrait in his characteristic grey angled background: I should have snapped that too.

Joel Sternfeld Alec Soth David Hockney Bernd and Hilla Becher Horst P Horst
Box B
1. Joel Sternfeld, After a Flash Flood, Rancho Mirage, California, 1979
2. Alec Soth, Patrick, Palm Sunday, Baton Rouge, LA, 2002
3. David Hockney, Herrenhausen, Hannover, Germany, 1970
4. Bernd and Hilla Becher, Triptych (Winding Towers and Furnace), 1967
5. Horst P Horst, Mainbocher Corset, 1939
© the artists or their estates

The Soth (fig. B2) needs to be physically seen at its full size (40 x 32 inches) to really appreciate it. Only a little of the blossom on the tree is in sharp focus, the rest merges with the distant background.

Edward Weston Philip Jones Griffiths Ruth Orkin Herbert Ponting Bill Brandt
Box C
1. Edward Weston, Nude, 1936
2. Philip Jones Griffiths, Boy Destroying Piano, Wales, 1961
3. Ruth Orkin, The Card Players, 1955
4. Herbert Ponting, Grotto in Berg, Terra Nova in the Distance, 5th January , 1910
5. Bill Brandt, A Snicket in Halifax, 1937
© the artists or their estates

I have not encountered Philip Jones Griffiths before now. This image takes the prize for best title in show (it could have been me - I was seven at the time and living in Wales).

The Ponting (fig. C4) must deserve an award for effort and ingenuity, carrying a field camera and tripod that distance and finding that composition ("can you move the ship a bit to the left, please?").

It is difficult to choose my favourite shot, possibly the Penn (fig. A1), but that might be because it is the first seen in the show and because I smugly guessed who it was.

Page created 30-Nov-2019 | Page updated 19-Apr-2020