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Robert Benjamin 'River Walking' – poetic photographs and poetry spanning 40 years as an exhibition at Light Work in New York

“I think you have to love your life, and you have to have the courage to find the world beautiful,” says poet and photographer Benjamin Robert, who is presenting poems and photographs spanning 40 years in the exhibition 'River Walking' at Light Work in New York, still on through the end of July.

'Light Work is pleased to present Robert Benjamin’s River Walking, a solo exhibition of photographs and poems spanning four decades. A self-taught photographer and poet, Benjamin’s work, often centered around his family, offers a simple and honest consideration of what it means to live and to love with intention. Enchanted by color and the beauty of photography itself, Benjamin uncovers poetry in the everyday.

Benjamin never wanted a career in photography. He simply felt that he needed to take pictures. According to Benjamin, one of the great joys of being a photographer is working with cameras. He appreciates the elegance of mechanical objects deeply – their feel, their smell, their sound. Cameras are “exquisite little machines” – like typewriters, he says. Benjamin has been writing poems on his Smith-Corona Clipper longer than he’s taken photographs. His poems echo the sensitivity and humble directness of his photographs. More recently, Benjamin has begun pairing what he aptly calls “small photographs” with “small poems,” a selection of which is included in this exhibition.

It’s often a mystery why a picture captivates us. A long-time friend, the widely-admired photographer Robert Adams, has written about Benjamin’s portrait of his son, Walker, in his recent book, Art Can Help. The photograph possesses everything that embodies Benjamin’s work – a convergence of time, poetry, color, love, and mystery. Adams writes, “In the distance, the rain is coming our way, and the light is about to change. There is, just now, no place on earth exactly like this one.”

Robert Benjamin grew up in Northern Illinois around suburbs, cornfields, lakes, and the remaining prairies. After a brief encounter with college, he traveled – criss-crossing America, eventually to Paris, finally settling in New York City. There, he decided that photography was what he wanted to do. With the absence of any academic training or community, he followed his own direction, creating a style and interest that continues to this day. His photos and poems grew intuitively and draw on the experience of everyday life, far removed from the art world. In 2010, he agreed to a show of his work at the Denver Art Museum. In 2011, the museum and Radius Books published the book of this work, Notes from a Quiet Life. Benjamin continues to write and photograph. He and his family live in Colorado.'

Light Work was founded as an artist-run, non-profit organization in 1973. “Our mission is to provide direct support to artists working in photography and related media through residencies, publications and a community-access lab facility.”
17.07.2019 // show complete article

GoSee loves ... 'The Bird in Borrowed Feathers' - Hellen van Meene enchants London with her sensitive portraits in James Freeman Gallery

“To make a great portrait, you simply have to concentrate on what’s in front of you. Find the perfect light. Focus on the models. Say the right things and make your models relax. This is a formula that has never changed…” says the Dutch photographer in an interview on her portrait photos. A selection of her portraits of women is now on display in the James Freeman Gallery in London.

'We are pleased to present ‘The Bird in Borrowed Feathers’, a solo exhibition for Dutch photographer Hellen van Meene. This will be Hellen’s first solo exhibition in London since 2008 and will place new works in context with a number of pieces from the past decade.

Hellen van Meene is renowned worldwide for her distinctive photographic approach. Working in analogue and principally in small format, she focuses on the experiences of young people at the stage between adolescence and adulthood. It is a fragile space, full of uncertainty, and riven with the anxieties of change. Hellen finds glimpses into these intimate inner worlds and brings their fragility to light in ways that are sometimes surreal and unsettling, often uncomfortable and challenging, but always deeply sensitive and sincere.

Many of Hellen's new works explore the use of animals as motifs. Pets – dogs, birds, rats – appear as emotional familiars for their uncertain friends. Butterflies, the perennial symbol of transformation, appear like a floating spirit over the skin of the model. So many of Hellen’s works are composed as small format interiors lit with milky natural light in a tradition that stretches back centuries to the Northern Renaissance. Within this context, the family pet appears as a kind of emotional support for children on the cusp of braving the outside world.

Materials and textiles are another echo from traditional Dutch painting that find expression in Hellen’s works. Young they may be, but many of her subjects are dressed in exquisite fabrics, which Hellen captures with crystalline detail. Often these stem from shoots for large fashion houses whereby, Cinderella-like, the clothes are loaned for just the day. In Hellen’s photos, the pleats are crisp, the billowing folds voluminous: material takes on a fetishistic quality in the rites of dressing up that her young women embark upon. It is also another means of capturing the sense of displacement that her subjects express: in almost every instance, the clothes seem to be something these young women are on the point of growing into, a promise of an as-yet unknown life. Hellen’s project is to capture that moment just before it comes to pass.'

James Freeman Gallery is a contemporary art dealer based in Islington, London, UK. Established in 2003, the gallery explores contemporary approaches to classicism, presenting artists who combine current tendencies with art-historical references and research. In particular, the gallery aims to present artists who do this in a way that is both aesthetically powerful & technically accomplished. Wonderful artworks are what we look for, works that engage the eye, the heart and the mind.

The Bird in Borrowed Feathers – Hellen van Meene
11 July to 3 Aug, 2019
17.07.2019 // show complete article

Herbert List 'Young Men & Still Lifes' presents the magical essence of his images as an exhibition at Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles

The Fahey/Klein Gallery dedicates its new Herbert List 'Young Men & Still Lifes' exhibition to the German photographer and modern classic, who is best known for his surreal black and white photographs. Inspired by Andreas Feininger and influenced by artists such as Giorgio de Chirico, Magritte and Man Ray, the trained coffee merchant began seriously photographing in 1930. In 1935, he handed down his father's company to his younger brother and emigrated to Paris to avoid arrest by the Gestapo for criticizing the Nazi regime. In Paris and London, he worked for magazines including Verve, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Life. On display at the gallery through 31 August, 2019, are stills and portraits of young men who were photographed on a trip to Greece.

The Fahey/Klein Gallery is pleased to present Young Men & Still Lifes by German photographer, Herbert List – The first exhibition of his legendary homoerotic male nudes in Los Angeles in over 25 years. List’s playful but austere, classically arranged compositions taken in Italy and Greece have become an indelible influence in modern and contemporary photography. Diary-like images of friends and still lifes with found objects gave birth to a style that half a century later would influence fashion or lifestyle photography of masters like Bruce Weber or Herb Ritts.

Herbert List (1903 - 1975) was born into a prosperous Hamburg merchant family and began an apprenticeship at a Heidelberg coffee dealer in 1921 while studying literature and art history at Heidelberg University. During travels for the coffee business between 1924-28, the young List began to take photographs, almost without any pretensions to art.

In 1930, though, his artistic leanings and connections to the European avant-garde brought him together with the American photographer Andreas Feininger, who introduced his new friend to the Rolleiflex, a more sophisticated camera that allowed a deliberate composition of images. Under the dual influence of the surrealist movement on the one hand, and of Bauhaus artists on the other, List photographed still life and his friends, developing his style. He has described his images as “composed visions where [my] arrangements try to capture the magical essence inhabiting and animating the world of appearances.”

After leaving Germany in 1936 in response to the danger of Nazi police attention to his openly gay lifestyle and his Jewish heritage, he turned his hobby into a profession. Working in Paris and London, he met George Hoyningen-Huene, who referred him to Harper’s Bazaar. Dissatisfied with the challenges of fashion photography and hired models, List instead focused on composing still lifes. The images produced there would later be compared to the paintings of Max Ernst and Giorgio de Chirico, and paved the way for List’s role as the most prominent photographer of the Fotografia Metafisica style.

Greece became List’s primary interest from 1937 to 1939. After his first visit to the antique temples, sculptures and landscapes, his first solo show opened in Paris in the summer of 1937. Publications in Life, Photographie, Verve and Harper’s Bazaar followed, and List began work on his first book, Licht über Hellas, which wasn’t published until 1953.

Working in Athens, List hoped to escape the war but was forced by invading troops to return to Germany in 1941. Because of his Jewish background, he was forbidden to publish or work officially in Germany. Several works, stored in a hotel in Paris, have been lost. In 1944, List was deployed by the German Wehrmacht to Norway where he served as a map archivist.

In 1951, List met Robert Capa, who convinced him to work as a contributor to Magnum. He turned his interest towards Italy from 1950 to 1961, photographing everything from street scenes to contemplative photo essays, from architectural views to portraits of international artists living in Italy. He discovered the 35mm camera and the telephoto lens in 1953. His work became more spontaneous and was influenced by his Magnum colleague Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Italian Neo-Realism film movement.

Herbert List’s work has been collected, exhibited, and published internationally. List’s work is held in Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris, France), Fotomuseum im Münchner Stadtmuseum (Munich, Germany), The J.Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, CA), ICP (New York, NY), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY) Musée de l'Elysée (Lausanne, Switzerland), The Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA,) The Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, CA), among others.

Past publications of Herbert List’s work include The Magical in Passing (Silvana Editoriale, Milan, 2014), Herbert List: The Monograph (Ed. Max Scheler with Matthias Harder, texts by Bruce Weber Edmund White. Monacelli Press, New York, 2000), Italy (Ed. Max Scheler, Thames & Hudson, 1995), Herbert List: Junge Männer (Ed. Stephen Spender, Thames & Hudson, 1988,) Napoli e i suoi personaggi (Ed. Vittorio De Sica, Rizolli, 1968) Nigerian images: the splendor of African sculpture (Ed. William Fagg, Frederick A. Praeger, 1963), Caribia : a photographic sketchbook of the Caribbean islands (Rowohlt, 1958), Lights Over Hellas: A Symphony in Photos (Munich: G.D.W. Callwey, 1953), and more.

The Fahey/Klein Gallery is devoted to the enhancement of the public's appreciation of the medium of photography through the exhibition and sale of 20th century and contemporary fine art photography. Since the gallery's inception, our exhibition program has embraced a broad range of diverse photographers from Edward Weston to Berenice Abbott; Man Ray to Henri Cartier-Bresson; Irving Penn to Melvin Sokolsky; Horst P. Horst to Herb Ritts; Peter Beard to James Nachtwey, among many others. The Fahey/Klein Gallery is a leader in the field of photography and is respected among collectors and colleagues.
17.07.2019 // show complete article