Curious Trends

27/11/2010

Vintage photography - Albert Watson


With digital cameras constantly being upgraded, and available more cheaply and readily than ever before, it’s suprising that collectors seem more interested in the art of genuine old fashioned photography. Though perhaps this is not so curious in view of the level of expertise required to manipulate non-digital images, or the skill needed to take shots that don’t need to be re-touched, or altered in any way.

A selection of legendary photographer Albert Watson’s silver gelatin vintage prints and Polaroids will be for sale in a new exhibition at Hamiltons Gallery, starting today. These include some of his most iconic images including the Kate Moss series, shot in Marrakech in 1993.


Watson arrived in London earlier this week to promote two new photography books. Strip Search: a personal portrait of Las Vegas (featuring dominatrixes) and UFO: Unified Fashion Objectives, an epic forty year retrospective of his work.

Since 1974, Watson has clocked up around 250 Vogue covers, more than 40 covers for Rolling Stone and has worked on more than 600 commercials and still prints most of his own photographs. His images include iconic movie posters, such as Uma Thurman in Kill Bill and the famously striking shot of Alfred Hitchcock holding a goose, for Harpers Bazaar.

One day during the 1970s, Watson completed shoots in Paris, New York and Los Angeles, all on the same day. Travelling by Concorde, he started by photographing Catherine Deneuve wearing couture for French Vogue, then shot a hair company ad in New York, finishing his day by taking photos of Frank Zappa in LA.

Watson was educated at a Steiner School in the UK, then at art college, where he studied graphic design, followed by the RCA Film School. He draws on graphics and film cinematics in his work and says that having worked with actors and directors helps him to direct the people he is photographing.

Being a charmingly self-effacing, down to earth man with a lilting Scottish accent has probably helped Watson no end in getting subjects to agree to his exacting requirements. And, whilst every image tells its own story, the behind the scenes accounts – complete with celebrity tantrums, out of control animals and weird locations - are sometimes even more fascinating than the photography.

http://www.albertwatson.net/


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