The Final Countdown Starts Today

With The Doors song "The End" playing in our heads, we're sad to announce that this coming weekend is your last chance to see Who Shot Rock & Roll as the show will come to a close this Sunday, October 21.

But you're in luck as The Final Countdown begins today! What this means is that we will offer extended evening hours so to accomodate as many of you as we can during the last few days of the shot.

As a reminder, The Final Countdown hours will be:

Thursday, October 18, 10am - 10pm (please note that part of the exhibit will be closed from 5pm-8pm for a lecture)
Friday, October 19, 10am - Midnight
Saturday, October 20, 10am - Midnight
Sunday, October 21, 11am - 6pm

Yes, you saw that right - we're open until midnight on Friday & Saturday!

In conjunction with The Final Countdown, several cafes in Century Park (that's name of the park in Century City in which we're located) will be extending their hours:

Cuvée: Open until 10pm on Thursday & Friday; 11:30am - 7pm on Saturday
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf: Open until 8pm on Thursday & Friday

Also, during the extended evening hours on Thursday, Friday & Saturday, enter to win special prize drawings.

Don't wait because come Sunday at 6pm, our doors will close until November 17 so we can prepare for our next exhibit, no strangers.

Douglas Bergeron On Helmut Newton's 'Rue Aubriot'


© Estate of Helmut Newton

Last month we presented you the point of view of the above photo (Rue Aubriot) by Helmut Newton from the very model featured in the famous image: Vibeke Knudsen. Today, we bring you the perspective from Knuden's husband, Douglas Bergeron, who is a writer, art historian and art collector.

By Douglas Bergeron

Helmut Newton’s black & white photo, Rue Aubriot, represents the extension of a long artistic tradition dedicated to showing femmes fatales, erotic vampires and alluring denizens of the Paris night. Charles Baudelaire’s spirit curls around the German photographers tableau, where we see echoes of Nadar’s early monochrome photos of great poets & artists. However, it is Brassai’s photographic depictions of his venuses of the crossroads- pictures of Parisian street walkers taken in the early 1930s, which are most often mentioned as an influence on Newton’s work.

In Rue Aubriot, Vibeke Knudsen wears a pinstripped suit (Le Smoking) designed by Yves Saint Laurent. She holds a cigarette with her hair slicked back. The model recalls the androgynous music hall performers of the Weimer republic seen in Otto Dix’s paintings of the period. Newton’s famous photo has been reproduced so many times that it has become an icon in his oeuvre, & like many icons, the image has found a meaning of its own that is decoupled from the influences that may have inspired it.

Androgyny. Woman’s lib. The power of branding: Vibeke’s elegant YSL pant suit can be seen as a symbol of woman’s empowerment & her androgynous appearance illustrates the new norm of contemporary culture. Label:  Today’s heroines must follow a necessary ritual. They wrap themselves in designer names that amplify their power. These names are muttered like an open sesame, an incantation that gives them access to the red carpet.

Perhaps the power of Newton’s photo lies in its classical simplicity, which is highlighted by the subtle gradations of its black and white palette. The modern fashion photograph has become the repository of those classical traditions of posing spawned by early Greek sculpture, traditions that were repeated through the Renaissance and well into the 19th Century. It is on the pages of today’s fashion magazines that our ideals of beauty are preserved and promoted - frozen in poses as old as the Elgin marbles. The classical purity of Newton’s night composition, made on the Rue Aubriot, is etched with a clarity that makes his model much more than just a sophisticated hanger for a fine suit of clothes. Vibeke Knudsen’s still pose and sharp, frozen, silhouette takes her outside the moving processes of time. Rue Aubroit’s streetlamps crystallize Vibeke’s image, transforming her into a dark angel of light that somehow remains beyond our reach.

But Newton’s photo has also made his model part of a famous troop of artfully rendered beauties. Rue Aubroit now hangs amongst a time-honored collection of well-known portraits devoted to those alluring queens of seduction that have decorated the Parisian night.  Rue Aubriot both captures and transcends the spirit of a decade and has become one of the perfect instants of contemporary, post-modern visual mythology. Helmut Newton’s photo will linger in our collective memory for many generations to come.

See this image and over 100 others at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes.

Helmut Newton On His Winter Home In L.A.

In his autobiography, titled simply enough Autobiography, Helmut Newton‬ wrote about his love of Los Angeles and the famed Chateau Marmont, his winter home for many years.

He wrote: "I Love my winters in the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, where June and I have stayed for the last 26 years. I have this fascination for familiar surroundings...The 'Domestic Nudes' series began by my wanting to photograph rooms of the Chateau Marmont that I know so well, but who would look at pictures of empty rooms? So I added naked women."

The above image, taken by co-owner of the Fahey/Klein Gallery and long-time friend of the Newtons, David Fahey, is part of our outdoor exhibit.

Presenting The 'War/Photography' Video Trailer

Our next exhibit, WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath, debuts next month. The show, organized by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will include over 150 images that present both the military and civilian point of view of war. Mark your calendars - WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY opens Saturday, March 23, 2013 Watch the video teaser for the exhibit above.

Coming This Fall: National Geographic


Top photo: Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea
Photo by Joel Sartore © 2008 National Geographic

National Geographic is experiencing a landmark birthday this year and we're helping them celebrate.

Coming to the Photography Space this October 26 is our exciting next exhibit: The Power of Photography: National Geographic 125 Years. Organized in collaboration with National Geographic magazine, the show celebrates the iconic publication’s 125 year anniversary. From iconic images to portraits; landscapes to natural history, the exhibit will offer a wide range of photographic genres and themes free to the public in a special print and digital exhibition that will include two documentaries. National Geographic magazine is the official journal of the National Geographic Society.

The curation and installation of The Power of Photography departs from previous Photography Space exhibit designs. Mosaics of more than 400 images documenting the history of National Geographic photography from 1888 to the present time will adorn the walls. In addition, an extensive digital installation will showcase 500-plus images. Thirty professional-grade large format LED monitors will be arranged to create video walls throughout the Photography Space galleries. These six video walls, ranging from 12 to 14 feet in width, will present both individual images and photographic essays. Given the volume of photographs on the screens, and a format in which the images loop at different times throughout the galleries, the viewing experience will be unique to each visitor and each visit.

The exhibit will feature an original documentary commissioned by the Annenberg Space for Photography and produced by Arclight Productions that profiles six renowned photographers whose work appears in the October National Geographic issue: Lynsey Addario, Marcus Bleasdale, David Guttenfelder, Abelardo Morell, Joel Sartore and Martin Schoeller. In addition, the Photography Space will also screen a short compilation video comprised of photographers talking about the power of photography and what inspires their work. This compilation will be complemented by a series of longer video interviews with 20 photographers represented in the exhibit and a loop of milestone content videos created over the past several years for the magazine’s digital edition.

The Power of Photography: National Geographic 125 Years opens October 26, 2013 and runs through April 27, 2014. 

Everything Is Beauty: Lecture With Fadil Berisha

What a treat it was to have fashion photographer Fadil Berisha present during our IRIS Nights lecture series yesterday evening.

Fadil has had a global influence throughout his career. He has not only worked with such figures as Tyra Banks, President Bill Clinton, Snoop Dogg and numerous Miss America contestants, but he also played an incredible role in campaigning against the Kosovo massacres.

During his presentation, Fadil explained that his work stems from a genuine love for beauty.

"Beauty is what I really love... I like to live happy and see pretty things all the time. With photographers it has to do with how they feel on the inside and that's what comes out on the photo," proclaimed Fadil during the lecture. "I love to feel happy."

Fadil took a moment during his lecture to speak about his experience photographing the horrific war in Kosovo. Since the topic wasn't related to beauty itself he placed his visual slideshow on pause because he felt it was important to take some time to talk about his experiences with the conflict.

About 10 years ago Albanian photographers contacted Fadil asking him to help promote their cause in the Kosovo war. He told the audience that the pictures they sent him changed his life. He then spent the next couple years raising money and campaigning for awareness. His work and the photos he took made an international impact and helped pressure the United States to get involved.

Fadil told the audience about his first time working with the stunning Carmen Dell'Orefice, the legend who was his inspiration for a Rolex campaign. He said he fell in love when he realized how she stayed young at heart and continued to exude beauty throughout her whole life.

Fadil also gave shout-outs to models Beverly Johnson and Nikki Haskell, who were both in attendance. He raved about how they each possessed that same confidence and beauty he found so alluring in Carmen.

Johnson took the microphone during the Q & A session but she didn't have a question for Fadil. Instead, she took the time to praise the photography by calling him "brilliant" and telling the audience she could not wait to work with him again.

Thanks for an outstanding lecture, Fadil! For more information about him, check out his official website. You can also watch his IRIS Nights lecture online.

(All lecture images by Unique)

Learn More About This Photo From WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY

Private First Class Wayne C. Weidner, assumed American, dates not known
Personnel of Battery B, 937th Field Artillery Battalion, US 8th Army, Attached to the IX US Corps, Fire Their Long Toms on Communist Targets in Support of Elements of the 25th US Infantry Division on the West Central Front, Near the Village of Nunema, Korea, 1951

This powerful photo from our upcoming War/Photography exhibit was taken by Private First Class Wayne Weidner during the Korean War. Want to know how the image was photographed? An excerpt from the accompanying 600-page exhibit catalogue, soon to be on sale the day the show opens on March 23, explains:

Another artillery photograph in this section was taken during the Korean War of personnel in Battery B, 937th Field Artillery Battalion, U.S. 8th Army, firing on Communist targets in support of the 25th U.S. Infantry Division near the village of Nunema, Korea (1951). The self-propelled guns seen in this photograph are artillery placed on a motorized chassis capable of rapid maneuver. “Fast-moving forces of armored infantry and tanks needed their artillery to keep pace with the advance,” wrote Jeffrey Hunt. “Weapons of this type could be brought into action very quickly and with devastating consequences for an enemy caught unprepared or above ground. And, as in this picture, the firing of heavy guns, whether on land or aboard ship, is a visually stunning spectacle.” Taken at night, the camera’s lens was held open until both guns had fired, illuminating the scene with explosions and the reflected light from the snow.

Click here to watch a preview of the exhibit.

For the Love of Helmut

By Tara Shannon

Working on location inspired Helmut Newton - and an inspired Helmut was a really playful Helmut.  This snap was taken during a really great shoot for French Vogue in the south of France where everything was flowing effortlessly and he was in a great mood. June was with him and their Hollywood friends were coming by to say hi.  Bob Rafelson brought Jessica Lang who had her newborn daughter with her.

We were in the garden having lunch and everyone was taking pictures of each other, laughing and stepping in on each other’s shots. I started shooting Helmut, pretending that I was him.

He yelled a lot when shooting, so I mimicked him: “Helmut! That’s it! Don’t Move!  Francois, POWDER! , Katia, HAIR! “  Everyone started joining in, telling him to arch his back or find his light. He was actually a really good model!  He liked being teased.  He just loved having fun. He wanted work to be fun. He wanted life to be fun.

I shot with a Pentax Auto 110 that I had bought in Japan. It was a complete ultra-miniature SLR system. fully automatic with no user-settable adjustments.

It was a perfect camera to travel with as a model. I could buy 110 film in any airport and every drugstore in the world could develop it in an hour. He was wild about it. June shot this pic of Helmut and I with that camera.  He called it The Dwarf appealing totally to how he worked- his equipment being as pared down as possible. He found amateur cameras more innovative than professional.  I think my Pentax appealed to him so much because Helmut really and truly  was a reportage photographer at heart. He was the Weegee of the fashion world- a visual shark. He was brilliant at capturing those lurking shadows so full of subtext and pathos that were blatantly hiding within the seemingly superficial.

His point of view was the rabbit hole. He left it up to the viewer to fall down it as deeply as they wanted to go.

Former model Tara Shannon was once referred to as "the woman of a thousand faces." Learn more about her on her official website.

Poetic Photography: Lecture With Paul Lange

IRIS Nights lecturer Paul Lange - pictured here in front of his stunning picture of Venus Williams - gave an impressive presentation on the art and technique of photography last night.

Some of the photos on the screen looked more like paintings or digitally constructed portraits then the straight film or digital photography which they truly are. But as Lange pointed out, that was his goal. He manipulated the photos during exposure in-camera by simply experimenting with chemical processing methods.

"A photo is not just a model posing. I want my photographs to be like paintings," said Lange. "I want them to be long living."

He even went into detail explaining how a photo could be double exposed, cross processed or dye transferred - terms that had all the non-photographers struggling to keep up.

"It's fun just playing with the rules. They work more often then they don't work so the key is to just try it," said Lange in reference to his experimental work.

Lange's diverse career led him to the world of fashion, photographing top models and celebrities from around the globe. He combined his fine art training with the fashion staples of good hair, makeup and perfect lighting to create his unique and polished style. Lange still creates all of his photographs in-camera and does not digitally alter them in post-production.

Lange explained that digital filters don't have the poetry that film does. "There is a translucent quality that you get by chance with film..." said Lange passionately, "otherwise it is too uniform."

Lange kept coming back to ideas of mystery, chance, passion and poetry relying on the imagery of a 'paint-like quality' to describe his photographic style.

His unique photographs were not the sole reason this night was different from our other lectures; last night was also the first time the Annenberg Space for Photography held two lectures by a photographer in one evening.

The night was so successful that we hope to do more double-header lectures in the future, giving our guests twice the opportunity to attend!

Thank you Paul Lange for giving two lovely presentations!

(All lecture photos by Unique for the Space)

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