When I asked Etheleen Staley, co-founder of Staley-Wise Gallery, how long she had been working with Arthur Elgort she laughs heartily. “Forever,” she says.
Walking through The Big Picture, a retrospective of Elgort’s work, on view through January 10, you see what forever might look like, as images capturing some of the most iconic faces of our time cover the walls. The show, spanning from 1971 to the present, is a comprehensive look at both his iconic fashion photography and his more personal works, shown in conjunction with the release of a monograph of his work by the same title, The Big Picture, published by Steidl.
The gallery is filled with iconic, large-scale images from some of his most memorable fashion shoots. Stephanie Seymour, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Karlie Kloss, and even the fabled Gia are represented – a who’s who of the modern-day supermodel, published in British, Italian, French, and American Vogue. A wall of smaller prints, 109 of his personal photographs, many shown for the first time, show intimate photographs of friends, models, and the like – showing that the bridge between the personal and professional for Elgort is almost non-existent. Candid, natural, and intimate are the hallmarks of all Elgort’s images. Even his most high production shoots, have an air of inclusivity.
Each photograph reads like a conversation between artist and subject. However, the words are loudest and most eloquent in his single subject works. The way Elgort captures Christy Turlington – her gaze piercing the camera in one image, shows that Elgort more than just captures a moment, he is an integral part of the dialogue. “You can see that there is a mutual interest in working with each other, “ Staley says of Elgort and Turlington’s long-standing relationship, “they brought out the best in each other.”
Don’t miss your last chance to see Elgort’s exhibition at Staley-Wise Gallery (560 Broadway, New York, NY) – it closes on January 10th, 2015.