A Moment. Master Photographers: Michael Somoroff
May 22—Jul 31 2015
Sol Mednick Gallery
Between 1977 and 1983, Michael Somoroff, then a young New York photographer, had the privilege of photographing photographers who played a dominant role in shaping the medium during the climax of analog image making, including Robert Doisneau, Elliott Erwitt, Ralph Gibson, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Duane Michals and Helmut Newton, among others. He was first introduced to many of these icons through his father, Ben Somoroff, who studied under Alexey Brodovitch at the School of Industrial Arts in Philadelphia, now the University of the Arts, and had become a well-known and respected still life photographer working in both Philadelphia and New York. These portraits were originally created as a kind of visual journal, a tribute to the modern masters of the medium by a young photographer. Intensely personal, the images were never intended for publication and were put aside for many years. Thirty-five years later, this body of work is finally being shown and published.
Michael Somoroff studied art and photography at the New School for Social Research in New York, opening his own studio in the mid-seventies, eventually moving for a time to Europe. In Europe, he contributed to such publications as Life, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Stern, Time and Der Spiegel. His work is represented in collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and Museo Correr, Venice; it has been exhibited at the International Center of Photography, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. In 2006 Somoroff created a large-scale outdoor installation, “Illumination I,” for the Rothko Chapel in Houston, as the first artist invited to do so since Barnett Newman. Somoroff’s homage to legendary photographer August Sander, “Absence of Subject,” was presented during the 2011 Venice Biennale, the only private exhibit in the artistic history of the city to be placed on Piazza San Marco. Since 2011, “Absence of Subject” has traveled continuously throughout Europe and soon in South America. In 2012, “A Moment. Master Photographers: Portraits” by Michael Somoroff was awarded Best Photo Books of the Year prize chosen by American Photo.
There will be a reception for “Michael Somoroff: A Moment. Master Photographers” in the Sol Mednick Gallery on Saturday, May 23, 2015, from 2 to 4 p.m. There will also be an opening at the same time for Lori Pond’s “Nothing in the Entire Universe is Hidden” running concurrently in Gallery 1401, the Sol Mednick Gallery’s sister space located on the 14th floor of Terra Hall. The UArts Photography program operates both galleries.
Above: “Arnold Newman, New York City,” 1979, Platinum Print. From the series and book: A Moment. Master Photographers: Portraits by Michael Somoroff.Terrra Hall
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