Hmmmph, I thought blogs were meant to be of the moment? Its more like “off minute” round these parts. Yes, the Kertesz show that I was banging on about earlier. Months earlier. That I saw Months Earlier. Twice. That I was going to blog about. Well like a sourdough “Mother” its been bubbling away at the back of the fridge that is my brain. Never too late. Is the show still running? If you saw it, well done. If you didn’t, tough titty!
I first came across the work of Kertesz in the library during my first year as a BA fashion student. It was a small book on his distortion photographs. They blew me mind away. Sort of creepy-intriguing — women in classic poses that had been fucked about with so much that they looked like alien silk worms. This was back in the 1920s so a lot of circus mirrors and concave reflective surfaces were utilised. No Photoshop here.
Distortion 88, 1933
Kertesz is largely regarded as the father of photo-journalism and his career spans over six decades, from the turn of the 19th century to the 1980s, prolific till the end. He is also arguably, the first truly modern photographer. I really like the way he saw the world as place inhabited by shadows, reflections and bird’s eye perspectives. He was born Hungary, haha, lived in Paris during the 20’s and later relocated to New York during the 2nd World War as he was a Jew. His back catalogue is immense. Strike that, MAMMOTH. I dream of the day I’ll own one of his prints but seeing them en masse at the Jeu de Paume on a crystal clear autumn’s day last year was heavenly.
I particularly love this photograph of the artist Alexander Calder, shot in Paris, 1929. He was a cool dude, Andre. Hung out with the Intelligenstia and artists of the day, photographing them and their studios and homes. Mr. Calder just looks so bloody sexy in this pic, so broody. And what a Tache that rests above those lovely lips!
ARCHITECTURE | INFRASTRUCTURE | PEOPLE
BEFORE + AFTER.
Tracing Footsteps. I was walking along the Seine one day and walked across the Pont Neuf onto the little island that sits in the middle of the river. I was with a friend and he wanted to show me Paris from a different perspective. As we walked back up the steps onto the Place du Pont Neuf I noticed that this was the same setting for the Kertesz photograph above. Coincidentally we’d just been to see the show. Creepy, perhaps.
PARTING GLANCES | Peg Leg
This image of Clayton “Peg -Leg” Bates, the famous black tap dancer who lost a leg at the age of twelve is perhaps one of my favourite photographs by Kertesz. I just love the tonality, compostition and the erotic tension the wooden leg gives the image. I wonder if Robert Mappelthorpe was inspired by this image when he created Man In Polyester suit? The idea of sex is comically more obvious here but there are so many similarities: 2 black men, 3 piece suits and both images cropped above torso. And is it just me or do the hands not play a more significant role than phallus or faux foot? I find it quite funny how Clayton Bates has his hands crossed over his crotch and Polyester Suit man doesn’t, leaving that infamous Trouser Elephant for the whole world to see.