Friday, May 20, 2011

IDA KAR - exhibition National Portrait Gallery London

On Saturday whilst making a stop over in London, I looked around for some exhibitions to view. I always make a habit of stopping off at the Portrait Gallery. I remember the last time some fantastic portraits from Jason Bell. I adored these so much I ordered his book, 'An Englishman in New York' (amazon was cheaper than gallery) Anyway for £2.20 this time it was to see Ida Kar.

Now I know little of her work, although the vast amount of famous authors, artists and celbraties she has photographed you'd of thought her name would be better known. I've lifted some text from the gallery page, just to save me some typing time. One thing that struck me was the amazing tonal range in the prints. I swear I could even smell the fixer on the Antique Bromide prints. The prints were around 12 x 12 and some larger in beautiful frames - well worth a visit!

"Despite receiving public and critical acclaim from her contemporaries, Ida Kar remains surprisingly little known. This exhibition of over seventy of Kar’s portraits highlights the significant role played by this woman photographer at the heart of the creative avant-garde.
Russian-born, of Armenian heritage, Ida Kar (1908–74) was instrumental in encouraging the acceptance of photography as a fine art. Her subjects were the most celebrated figures from the literary and artistic spheres of 1950s and 1960s Europe and Russia. They include artists such as Henry Moore, George Braque, Gino Severini and Bridget Riley and writers such as Iris Murdoch and Jean-Paul Sartre.
Taken in the environments in which they lived and worked, the photographs on display offer a fascinating insight into post-war cultural life. Comprising several iconic portraits and many never previously exhibited, the exhibition is drawn from the Ida Kar Archive, acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in 1999." - courtesy of National Gallery. Images below are again from the site. (all images copyright National Portrait Gallery London)

Dmitri Dmitiyevich Shostakovich

Gino Severini

Jean paul Sartre

Sir Terence Ernest Manitou
These are only a few of my favorite images. An aspect of the photography that I admire, is the use of available light. Seldom does she use any artificial lighting. All the subjects are relaxed and photographed in their natural (most comfortable places) - Studies, Studios etc. I'll be looking for this book to add to my collection - just need to get it for the right price!

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