Ahead of Classic Photographs Los Angeles at the end of January, Point 102 is looking at some of the highlights from this year’s fair. You can read the yesterday's post here.
Evelyn Hofer’s still-life of oranges and lemons has the look of the romantic soft-focus propaganda found in early Russian colour photographers such as Ivan Shagin. Hofer (1922-2009) was one of the first artists to adopt colour film as the main focus of her practice returning often, however, to black and white. Her work ranges from portraits to landscape and street photography and she often had a sociological concern at the core of her image-making. Her work is represented at Class Photographs by Rose Gallery.
Jennifer Greenburg’s photograph I was not the thinnest, nor the prettiest, but I was the winner’ (2015) is the newest work in our selection. Part of her ‘Revising Histories’ portfolio, Greenburg uses found images from the 1940’s to 60’s and replacing the central figure or character in each image with a photograph of herself. She is the blonde being felt up at the party, the new mother holding her baby or, as we see in the photograph here, the beauty contest winner. You really have to look for the deception to find it and it is only when viewing the whole set of images together that it is possible to notice a knowing look from the artist here or a change in photographic tone there. Greenburg has a solo exhibition coming up in March at jdc Fine Art, San Diego and is represented at Classic Photographs by Wall Space Gallery.
It is possible to get lost in Anne Schwalbe’s Rosen (roses). A late twilight walk in the gardens of a stately home, the fading light hitting the leaves. It has been raining earlier in the day and the remaining moisture heightens the greens and pinks of the rose bush. You can feel the brisk cold air, hear only the wind and then silence. Anne Schwalbe is a German artist whose work often focuses on the natural environment. She is represented by L. Parker Stephenson Photographs.
Karl Struss’ photograph of Herald Square, New York, shows a city still very in the developmental stages of architectural growth. It is still possible to see a fair amount of sky and space between buildings to the left of the Flatiron Building on the right hand side. Struss made this photograph in the early part of his career, whilst he was still a student at Columbia University. The soft-focus foggy style of the image is due to a soft-focus lens that Struss himself invented called the Struss Pictorial Lens. Struss is represented at the fair by Lee Gallery.
Ansel Adams, of course, needs no introduction. This stark black and white image was taken in the Aspens, north of Santa Fe in New Mexico and shows dense wood and then utter blackness – hiding whatever your imagination can conjure. The tree in the foreground is too white, as if on fire. Adams was apparently driving through the mountains with his wife and assistants when he made these photographs and used his larger 8 x 10 plate camera. The Aspens are also known as “the shivering tree” as, it said, the leaves of the trees constantly tremble in even the slightest breeze. This meant that Adams was only able to make a short one second exposure, the composition worked out beforehand gives the photograph the feel of being both considered and snapshot. Adams is represented at Classic Photographs by Alan Klotz Gallery.
Laura Gilpin (1891-1979) began taking photographs during her childhood in Colorado before travelling to New York to study at the Clarence H. White School of Photography in 1916. This image of Ghost Rock in the Garden of the Gods, Colorado, was made during a summer break back in her home town. The Garden of the Gods is a national park and popular for its rock climbing due to its unusual and challenging rock formations. In Gilpin's photograph it’s unclear as to whether the rock is actually called Ghost Rock or whether the title refers to the almost transparent shadowy way in which the rock has been captured or indeed the many ghost stories which are associated with the Garden of the Gods in general. Gilpin is represented at the fair by Howard Greenberg Gallery.
Los Angeles Classic Photographs is open 30th/31st January at Bonhams LA, Sunset Boulevard
Running parallel to the fair proper there is a whole programme of talks, tours and photographic book singing/launches. Click here for the full programme.