It is difficult to give meaning to the word “presence” in the context of the discourse on photography, because the term is very meaningful and reveals tensions. Existence according to the dictionary definition ” something felt to exist or believed to exist “.
This definition is consistent with the content of the book Presence — Judy Glickman Lauder Photography Collection, recently published by Aperture Publishing. The book chronicles a dynamic collection of iconic photographs brought together by a woman who, with wit and savvy, sought to use the masters to illustrate photography’s past.
Some of the images selected for this book have a truly exceptional presence – see Yusuf Karsh’s stunning portrait of Winston Churchill, for example, where the power of composition and subject matter immediately sets it apart. In this ambiguous large format, Churchill looks directly into the lens, intimidating the viewer with his combative demeanor and expression.
An anecdote should be noted: Karsh, who did not cooperate with his model, himself went to remove his legendary cigar from Churchill’s mouth. Back behind the lens a few seconds later, the photographer took in the measure of Churchill’s gift to him: a pure, unstudied response to the frustration of an astonishing figure—a response that put all the emphasis on the “image.”
Let’s take it from here existence witty Karsh’s sudden decision has obliterated decorum and invaded his subject’s territory: this kind of decision is in many ways the book’s modus operandi.
Name the work Availability opens up to a double interpretation: on the one hand, these images are “visual cries from the heart” and present themselves as many singular examples of the power of a medium in the world; and on the other hand (perhaps more importantly), they are a tribute to Judy Glickman Lauder’s wise insight and generous insight into her selections. During the two years she devoted to the book and the exhibition, she discovered aspects of her own personality.
Spanning nearly a century (featuring such huge names as Hurrel, Avedon, Cartier-Bresson, Salgado, Parks and Capa), Judy Glickman Lauder, Chris Boot, The Aperture team and many others have expertly and expertly chosen. sense of nuance, more than one hundred and sixty images out of about seven hundred. Thanks to the generosity of Judy Glickman Lauder and her willingness to share a shortcut to 20th-century photography, the book is being published to coincide with an exhibition at the Portland Art Museum in Maine, home of this unique collection.
Beautifully produced on the presses of the EBS printing house in Verona, Availability contains many important photographs in the history of the medium and defines its greatness by the infinite power of its classicism. Here are just a few of the most striking images in the book: Charis Edward Weston (1936), Mainbocher corset by Horst P. Horst (Paris, 1939), Human hand (1902) and Steering wheel (1907) Alfred Stieglitz, Miners of Wales (1950) and The Spanish Awakening (1951) by W. Eugene Smith, Madrid Henri Cartier-Bresson (1939), or again Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California Dorothea Lange (1936).
Appearances of various origins, with an alarming resurgence of racist expressions at the moment American Gothic (Portrait of Ella Watson) by Gordon Parks, (Washington, 1942) speaks volumes about photography’s potential for social criticism. Parks and Ms. Watson enjoyed a unique relationship at the time, collaborating on more than eighty photographs. These photos show Mrs. Watson at home, at work, in a place of worship, surrounded by her family – she is the most classic character of the series. It remains that of a model posing in front of an American flag. With an energetic and stern expression, this black woman shares the foreground of the image with a broom and mop, framing the US flag in the background, asking the viewer to take a stand. The present situation reflects what is depicted in the photograph: we cannot be indifferent to it, so much so that it resonates with what is upon us on a daily basis.
Other striking images in the book include Mario Giacomelli’s almost dreamlike photograph of the joy of priests frolicking in the snow. Coney Island, that. 1952 The passion between two young people by Leon Levinstein, even photos of Audrey Hepburn, Art Buchwald and several others at Maxim’s by Richard Avedon in 1959, midway between fashion photography and star portraiture.
However, two images make their presence felt with a very special force: Reflections, Rockefeller Center, New York, c.1945 By Liset Model, shadows cast on building windows allegorically convey photography’s power to reveal the presence of spirits, as well as the captioned image Lelladirected by Edouard Boubat On a Breton beach in 1947: here a young woman asserts her presence almost in a pictorial composition with a kind of defiance.
The book opens with Anjuli Lebowitz quoting Roland Barthes: “ Each photo is a certificate of participation “. A visceral, organic representation of this claim is presented to us in the book, for example, with photographs. Lena at Bally Box, Essex Junction, Vermont (1973) by Susan Meiselas, in which six characters make noise outside a strip club, announcing their presence with an almost audible force that showcases the decidedly subversive gaze and attitude of a stripper; or, Mick and Bianca Jagger after their wedding in Saint-Tropez, France (1971) A picture by Patrick Lichfield that stands out for what it offers – sex, drugs, rock’n’roll. Thanks to the talent of the photographer, the audience will feel as if they have a front row seat to witness the rock star’s glamorous performance on their wedding day.
The photographer herself, Judy Glickman Lauder, is in her element among the greats of the image; collector, he is close to humanity, which is expressed in all the works he chooses to present. But if the collection is fluid, malleable, weaving, expanding, or self-limiting according to market and budget constraints, the book is closed as soon as it is printed – meant to remain as it is in history by nature.
And if many of the images of this work are familiar to us, as well as their subjects, the fact is that they convey the spirit of an entire generation under the veil of false simplicity.
Availability: Judy Glickman Lauder Photography CollectionAperture Editions, $50