Photo: Arthur Elgort, Wendy Whitelaw, New York City, 1981, Courtesy Atlas Gallery.
Brooklyn-native Arthur Elgort (b. 1940) changed the game with his 1971 debut in British Vogue when he introduced “snapshot” style photography to fashion. Rather than follow the strictures of the genre, which espoused the formality of studio sessions and artificial light to create ethereal effects, Elgort embraced the glamour of natural light and the energy of modern life.
In celebration, Atlas Gallery, London, presents Arthur Elgort, the photographer’s first UK solo exhibition, will open on Friday, June 2 and run the entire summer through September 2, 2017. Showcasing 40 years of fashion and personal work, the exhibition takes us inside the Elgort’s world, giving us a glimpse of life at work and at rest, showing us how little distinction the artist makes when crafting the shot.
The show features some of his most iconic works, including Kate Moss in Café Lipp, Paris in 1993, Christy Turlington in 1990 and a candid, colour photograph of Stella Tennant diving into a swimming pool in a winter coat after a shoot on a hot New York summer’s day, as well as photographs of the Rolling Stones taken at Ling View Fame in 1981. Also includes in the exhibition are never-before-exhibited vintage silver gelatin prints of personal work made in Elgort’s studio back in the 1970s.
Elgort first got into photography back in the 1940s, when he picked up his mother’s camera and starting shooting the world as he saw it—and he never stopped doing what he loves, breaking the rules in order to advance the form.
Whether shooting for magazines like Vogue, Interview, and GQ, or taking on advertising campaigns for the likes of Chanel, Valentino, and Yves Saint Laurent, Elgort’s style is uniquely his own, bringing together elements of all the genres of photography to make the constructed image that much more powerful.
Elgort’s photos bring the sensibility of street photography into the realm of fashion, giving us a feeling of truth and actuality that creates a sense of conviction, a belief and faith in this world. Sure that’s Kate Moss posing for Vogue, but it also feels like it is Kate, captured in a private moment.
Elgort’s genius lies in fusing the professional with the personal so that we quickly forget that the fashion photograph is designed to sell us clothes, images, fantasies, idea. Instead, we simply slip away into Elgort’s world, enjoying the beauty of life captured forever more on photographic film.
All photos: © Arthur Elgort, courtesy of Atlas Gallery.
Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Online, Whitewall, The Undefeated, Dazed Digital, Jocks and Nerds, Feature Shoot and L’Oeil de la Photographie. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.