Snowdon: A Life in View

I’m delighted to now be able to share news of a major display on the life and work of Lord Snowdon which I am curating for this autumn. Snowdon: A Life in View at the National Portrait Gallery from 26 September,  is selected from a very generous gift of photographs from Lord Snowdon to the Gallery in 2013, and will coincide with a new monograph published by Rizzoli.

Snowdon: A Life in View – Written by Antony Armstrong Jones, Foreword by Graydon Carter, Contributions by Frances von Hofmannsthal and Tom Ford, Introduction by Patrick Kinmonth. Publication date: 23 September 2014

Snowdon’s extensive career in portraiture and fashion photography has included a six-decade working relationship with Vogue magazine (from 1951). He also produced pioneering photo essays on social issues for The Sunday Times (1962–90). Highlight portraits in this display will include studies of writers such as Nell Dunn and Graham Greene, actors such as Julie Christie and Terence Stamp, and cultural figures such as newspaper editor Harold Evans. The display will also offer the opportunity to enjoy new selections from book Private View (1965), Snowdon’s important examination of the British art world created in collaboration with art critic John Russell and Bryan Robertson, then director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery. You can find out more about Snowdon: A Life in View via the National Portrait Gallery’s recent press release.

I also recommend exploring Snowdon Review, an online collection of stories from the photographer’s vast archive, beautifully curated by the photographer’s daughter Frances von Hofmannsthal.

Coinciding with a new monograph published by Rizzoli, Snowdon: A Life in View (26 Sep 2014-21 Jun 2015), will highlight studio portraits from the 1950s to the 1990s, alongside selections from Private View Snowdon’s important 1965 examination of the British art world created in collaboration with art critic John Russell and Bryan Robertson, then director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery.

Curated from a major gift to the Gallery in 2013, in close consultation with the photographer’s daughter Frances von Hofmannsthal, the display includes over 40 black-and-white portraits taken throughout his expansive and influential career.

– See more at: http://www.rps.org/news/2014/july/snowdon-npg-donation#sthash.J6l2eiOZ.dpuf

Coinciding with a new monograph published by Rizzoli, Snowdon: A Life in View (26 Sep 2014-21 Jun 2015), will highlight studio portraits from the 1950s to the 1990s, alongside selections from Private View Snowdon’s important 1965 examination of the British art world created in collaboration with art critic John Russell and Bryan Robertson, then director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery.

Curated from a major gift to the Gallery in 2013, in close consultation with the photographer’s daughter Frances von Hofmannsthal, the display includes over 40 black-and-white portraits taken throughout his expansive and influential career.

– See more at: http://www.rps.org/news/2014/july/snowdon-npg-donation#sthash.J6l2eiOZ.dpuf

Coinciding with a new monograph published by Rizzoli, Snowdon: A Life in View (26 Sep 2014-21 Jun 2015), will highlight studio portraits from the 1950s to the 1990s, alongside selections from Private View Snowdon’s important 1965 examination of the British art world created in collaboration with art critic John Russell and Bryan Robertson, then director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery.

Curated from a major gift to the Gallery in 2013, in close consultation with the photographer’s daughter Frances von Hofmannsthal, the display includes over 40 black-and-white portraits taken throughout his expansive and influential career.

– See more at: http://www.rps.org/news/2014/july/snowdon-npg-donation#sthash.J6l2eiOZ.dpuf

Picture Post’s George Douglas

George Douglas photographed during the 1950s

George Douglas photographed during the 1950s

For a current exhibition project, I have been researching sittings by key Picture Post photographers taken during the 1950s, including by Bert Hardy and George Douglas. (I am very grateful to Sarah McDonald, Curator of the Hulton Archive, for her ongoing assistance and advice.)

While Bert Hardy is known to many, the work of George Douglas is arguably less remembered today, despite the significance of his remarkable output while a commissioned freelance photographer for Picture Post. The great diversity of his work ranged from picture essays on celebrity figures; such as Audrey Hepburn at the time of her breakthrough performance in Gigi (1951); to photojournalism, documenting topics such as Olive Walker, one of Europe’s few female chimney sweeps, and the work of a speech therapy clinic in Stockton-on-Tees.

Within the last few weeks I was delighted to visit Brighton photographer Nigel Swallow, who is researching the Douglas Archive and organizing its long term care, alongside the Archive’s owner photographer Roger Bamber. (Bamber inherited the archive following Douglas’s death, and the subsequent death of his widow Jill Renton).

Next month, a small display of thirty photographs from the vast Douglas archive, will be staged at his former home at 14 Sillwood Road, Brighton. Douglas had bought the house in 1964, and though he spent much of his life in California, returned to live here permanently from 2007 until his death. This display will be part of the Brighton Artists Open Houses Festival 2014, and further details can be found on the event page. This display marks the beginning of a new exciting journey by the Archive’s owners to fully unravel and research this collection of several thousand negatives from the 1940s-1960s. I look forward to following their news, and I hope that in time, their work will lead to a reappraisal of Douglas’s legacy.

 

Carlotta Cardana: Mod Couples

'Amanda and Jon' © Carlotta Cardana, Reproduced with kind permission.

‘Amanda and Jon’ © Carlotta Cardana, Reproduced with kind permission.

Back in October 2013, I was a selector for the Association of Photographers Open Awards, an annual competition and accompanying exhibition for professional and amateur photographers. My fellow judges and I were unanimous in choosing Carlotta Cardana’s portrait of ‘Amanda and Jon’ from her documentary portrait series ‘Mod Couples’ for The Best AOP Student Award.

Cardana’s series documents young couples who belong to the Mod scene, the sub-culture which first began in the late 1950s and reached its original peak in the mid-1960s. Cardana’s simple but bold compositions are immediately engaging, in part due to her sensitivity to the formal conventions of portraiture, and also her detailed attention to the personal style, fashions and environments carefully chosen by each couple. However the series as a whole also invites much quieter, more complex questions regarding the construction of identity; both individually, as a partner, and collectively as part of a sub-culture. Viewing these photographs one also questions the increasing role of nostalgia in contemporary society.

I’m delighted to see Cardana go on to receive wider recognition for this series, most recently as a winner in The New York Photo Awards 2013 and as a shortlisted photographer in the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards. Further portraits from the series can be enjoyed on the photographer’s website.