Galleries - August 2011

Interestingly, the ground breaking documentary photographer Diane Arbus (1923-71), also started in fashion. But she preferred to focus her unflinching lens on ordinary people or those living on the mar- gins like the giants and midgets on show at Tate Modern until 31 March 2012. Rather than enticing the viewer into the photograph à la Ritts or even Kertész, her sub- jects confront the viewer, challen- ging them to stare back. Early masters will appear from 17 September as we discover Eadweard Muybridge’s (1830- 1904) influence on Edgar Degas (1834-1917) and tantalisingly, Deg- as’ own photographs of dancers at the RA’s ‘Degas and the Ballet’ from 17 September. Melanie Abrams Interestingly, Munkácsi also in- fluenced Herb Ritts (1952-2002), the go-to fashion photographer of the 1980s and 1990s. His classic black & white images of the super- models, Madonna and others defined the era and created the body beautiful that we still aspire to today. Now some of these memorable shots are displayed at Hamiltons Gallery until 12 August, alongside unseen works from his archive. Yet his images are deceptively simple, as he focuses attention on the iconographic essentials such as Liz Taylor flashing her diamond. Sometimes there is an unexpe- cted surrealist twist, such as Djimon Hounsou wearing an octopus on his head or a hint of movement as if something is about to happen, or has just hap- pened. Intriguingly, his images do not seem to be photographs of human beings. Instead, they gleam like bronze statues. 9. GALLERIES AUGUST 11 From photojournalism to fashion to fine art, some of the biggest names in photography are on show in London this August. Five of them – Robert Capa, André Kertész, Brassaï, László Moholy- Nagy and Martin Munkácsi – dom- inate the first major photography show at the Royal Academy of Art since 1989, Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography in the 20th Century (to 2 October). The modern day relevance of their work from Brassaï’s (1899–1984) perennially romantic images of Paris to the experimental camera- less photograms of Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946), demonstrates the indelible impact that these men had on the history of photography. Rare treats are the iconic im- ages, spanning the career of Kertész (1894-1985). The father of modern photojournalism even in- fluenced a young Capa (1913-54), whose emotionally powerful post war work, such as the audible silence of the devastated Warsaw Ghetto, packs even more of a punch than his more famous ‘Falling Soldier’ or ‘D-Day landing’. The most overlooked of these photographers is Munkácsi (1896- 1963) who revolutionised sports and fashion photography as well as photojournalism with his un- usual angles and dynamic move- ment. His pioneering outdoor, action, fashion shot of Lucile Brokaw running across the beach, for example, is still referenced today – think Norman Jean Roy’s Hilary Swank sprinting along Malibu beach for Vanity Fair. MASTERS OF PHOTOGRAPHY Images: M artin Munkácsi, ‘The first fashion photo for Harper’s Bazaar’, (Lucile Brokaw), 1933. Edgar Degas, Dancer Adjusting Her Strap’, c. 1895-6 both at the Royal Academy. Herb Ritts, ‘Madonna (True Blue Profile)’, Hollywood 1986 from Hamiltons Gallery