A New Monograph Celebrates the Sensual Fashion Photographer’s Singular Vision
Supermodel Iman is obscured by an explosion of colorful fabric and slick-skinned glamazons pose on Togo beach in Hans Feurer’s tantalizing images. This fall, the Swiss-born photographer’s oeuvre is brought together for the first time in a new monograph published by Damiani: the eponymous tome features collaborations with Emmanuelle Alt, Grace Coddington and his one-time assistant Patrick Demarchelier. Inspired by a two-year road trip across Africa in the mid-60s, Feurer took to fashion photography and became a regular in Elle, Vogue and, later, i-D, while also creating era-defining campaigns for Kenzo. The self-proclaimed “observer” rarely retouches his images, and instead plays with texture, motion and shadow. “The figures in Feurer’s dreamlike images are feminine: strong women, natural beauties, women in war paint, women in motion, women without makeup, women without clothes, women in veils, women on horseback,” writes New York-based curator Gianni Jetzer in the foreword to the book. “Feurer describes himself as a feminist who has the utmost respect for female intelligence. He thinks that our planet would be in better hands, if it were run by women.”
Hans Feurer is published by Damiani this September. A selection of photographs will be exhibited at Colette from September 2 to October 5.
The Late Photographer’s Three Protégés Discuss his Lasting Influence
The long-time assistants of legendary fashion image-maker Helmut Newton, photographers Mark Arbeit, George Holz and Just Loomis, pay tribute to their mentor in this excerpt from new short Three Boys from Pasadena. Boldly approaching Newton in 1979 after getting a tip that he would be dropping into a Pasadena boutique, the three young art students and aspiring photographers were taken on as his assistants. It was the beginning a professional and personal relationship that would last up until Newton's death in 2004. “He loved to ride in my old, beat-up ’69 Dodge Dart—pulling up to the valet at the Beverly Hills Hotel with all the fancy cars there,” recalls Holz. “He thought it was such a cool and camp thing to do.” Mixing archive footage with Arbeit, Holz and Loomis's recollections of working with the provocative lensman, Three Boys from Pasadena accompanies an exhibition at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Originally hung at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin in 2009, the show features memorabilia and Polaroids documenting the trio's years working with Newton alongside a retrospective of their subsequent photographic careers—including personal projects and commercial works for the likes of French Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and The New York Times.
Three Boys from Pasadena is at the Williamson Gallery of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, until 26 August.
Dedicated to June and Helmut
Directed and Edited by Joey Carey
Produced by Mark Arbeit, George Holz, Just Loomis
Archival footage by Just Loomis
Music by Julia Haltigan
Music Supervision by Concord Music Group
The Dutch Visionaries Unveil a Genre-Bending Show in LA
Swinging between worlds of art and fashion for 26 years, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin transform their A-list subjects into Gothic beauties and charge floral still lifes with their Netherlands heritage. Part of an elite group of image-makers alongside Steven Meisel, David Sims and Mario Sorrenti, the husband-and-wife duo used digital manipulation to push fashion imagery to extremes, with campaigns for the likes of Lanvin, Givenchy and Miu Miu. This week marks the opening of Inez & Vinoodh, a retrospective exhibition at the Gagosian in LA, following their first show with the gallery in Paris earlier this year. From a cyborg Lady Gaga to a daisy-sprouting Bill Murray, and a room of 18 botanical portraits, the show features cult editorials from the likes of V, Interview and Vogue. “Our work has always been about this duality and dichotomy between the campy and the classical, the grotesque and the stylish; the elegant and the extreme,” explains van Lamsweerde, “inside each room, and together, which relates to the fact that we’re two people, two brains, doing everything together.” Here one half of the sought-after duo reveals the secrets of their unique vision.
On their fascination with flower arranging…
Inez van Lamsweerde: Working with flowers, for me, is about coming as close as I can get to abstract painting; it’s very intuitive. We go to the New York City flower market in the morning and get everything we love, and with a very fast tempo we create these still lifes. It’s about bringing out the heroic side of each element, and that’s what we do with people. That’s always been our point—glorifying the specificity of human beings, whereas with the flowers it’s glorifying the specificity and the character of each flower. It’s all about this idea of finding the one element in someone’s physiognomy, heightening that through the lens and making everyone into a hero.
On abstracting beauty…
IVL: Four or five years ago we did a portrait of Natalie Portman that is very angelic. It’s her wearing a hoodie and her skin is incredibly flawless. There’s a giant hand resting on her forehead that belonged to Dick Page, who did the makeup. He put his hand on her head to fix something on her face; we took the picture and it now has a religious connotation. It’s a very still and sublime photograph of her. For this show, we used makeup to blacken her face all around her mouth and nose, as if she’s fallen with her face into the soot, or if her makeup ended up around her mouth instead of on her eyes. It creates this dichotomy; all of a sudden, this purity and beauty and angelic nature is destroyed by our own hand, with makeup. In this case it actually makes it dirtier and shows an underlying darkness, visualized on the outside.
On LA artists…
IVL: I love Charles Ray for the uncanny and the hyperreal. Mel Ramos is another one of my all-time favorite artists. You could relate our portrait of Natalie Portman to a work by Mel Ramos [“Drawing Lesson #7”]. There’s an image of a beautiful blonde woman sitting in a chair and someone is painting her and drawing her, but in the image on the canvas her face looks completely destroyed. That’s dichotomy.
On the power of digital…
IVL: I’m excited by the fact that social media like Instagram and Tumblr have enabled everyone to be a photographer, and made photography the number one communicator in the world. I’m thrilled about that.