Portraying Artists: Photographs by Walter Weissman

Spotlight on May 16, 2014 9:45 am

Walter is a friend of my folks, and when he sent a link to his project Portraying Artists I was impressed by the access he had with the artists he photographed. Below is a bit about his project, you can learn more about the project in this video (here) and see more work, here.

Creating photographs at museums and galleries for more than two decades I have amassed a collection of images, which touches upon the cultural highlights of New York’s creative community. Major personalities from the visual, literary, performing and design arts have participated as subjects in my photographic process. The museum as a hall of portraits lends itself as a place for creating photo portraits within its galleries. The museum and gallery setting exists as my personal photo studio, my workshop, and my work venue for making art. Subsequently, The museum as photo studio became as natural as the street is to those photographers who have made that their studio.

These photographs of artists Roy Lichtenstein, Elaine de Kooning, Larry Rivers, Chuck Close, Donald Sultan, Ross Bleckner, Betty Friedan, Dan Flavin, Calvin Klein, Dennis Oppenheim, Billy Joel, Eric Fischl, Edward Albee, Arman and Robert Rauschenberg in addition to being a documentary of these artists whose works have graced the walls of many museums highlight not only my perspective but exist as a marker, as a collaborator, a crucible, an incubator in the process of creating original art via the photographic medium. With a keen eye to composition, light and form these photographs are a cross between a portrait session and the capture of a candid moment. Each photograph is its own unique self, emanating its own personality which exists in the space between classic portraiture and that captured moment of a fleeting expression – a felt moment of character. Portraiture is a visual form of biography that attempts to step into the space of the subject from the inside out. As much as any photograph can touch upon the true north of an individual these photos attempt to reveal and inform the viewer of that subjects “texture of their world order” – their true character.

The photographs here are to invite you into a world of creative energy and visual stimuli whereby you can share a part of our living cultural heritage and history that nurtures creative aspiration on all of our parts. Here we see, share and come to understand ourselves as artists where we look to the best of us as our mentors and collaborators in the arts and culture. This group of archival photos contributes to fulfilling the need for a record of that time as both documentary photography and fine art portraiture.

Walter Weissman - Jeff Koons with his ceramic sculpture Sonnabend Gallery, NYC 1991

Walter Weissman – Jeff Koons with his ceramic sculpture Sonnabend Gallery, NYC 1991

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