What happened to those relaxing times, before the fast pace of modern life with constant emails and power showers, when we had time for long luxurious lingering baths overflowing with bubbles, with a good book to read, the radio playing soothing music and a favourite cocktail to hand. Irving Penn captured this lost world in his 1950 photograph “Girl in Bath (Jean Patchett)”, one of the photographs included in Phillips sale of modern photography in London.
The overall themes in these collectable photographs are of fashion and of recording a world that has past, or will pass, whether in cities such as New York, with Lee Friedlander’s “Father Duffy” and Havana with Robert Poldari’s photograph of the gently-decaying Sala Alejo Carpantier in the Gran Teatro de la Habana, now recently refurbished, or in the natural world as captured by Sabastiao Salgado in his characteristically detailed photographs of the Chinstrap Penguins and Antarctica (both 2005).
The heyday of the classic black and white photograph on show here was in the 1950′s and 60′s with examples including Marc Riboud’s “The Painter of the Eiffel Tower” (1953) hung alongside his portrait of Yves Saint Laurent (1964), plus Frank Horvat’s “Givenchy Hat A” (1958) and Richard Avalon’s “Dolmina with Elephants, Evening Dress by Dior” (1955), while more modern work by artists such as Liz Neilson, Diasuke Yakota and Walter & Zoniel bring innovation and blurs the boundary between art and photography.
The exhibition includes the ULTIMATE CAMPAIGN, nine selected photographs which celebrate creativity between photographers, models and the world of fashion, often breaking all the rules, in association with Matchesfashion.com, including Bruce Walker’s “Ric and Nathalie”, the ultimate minimalist fashion photograph for Calvin Klein (1988) and Mario Sorrenti’s “Kate Moss Luncheon on the Grass” (1999) for Yves Saint Laurent, with references to Manet’s painting Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe but with the roles reversed.
Lastly, there are powerful images of youth and of innocence such as Ruud van Empel’s “Boy and Girl” (2008), leaving the viewer to guess the link between the two children and the natural environment; is it friendly, is it threatening, is it a commentary on how fragile both youth and nature are?
The price ranges for these photographs highlights how creative photography by the right photographer has become investable art.