As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 

TODAY

Wednesday, December 13

Gapers Block
Search

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


A/C
« Out About Town Overheard Illustrated: "Blinking" »

Photography Fri Mar 18 2011

Making it Look Easy

This review was submitted by Anna Wolak.

schapiro12.jpg

Steve Schapiro: "Jodie on Couch" (1975); photo courtesy of Catherine Edelman Gallery.


To have Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese secure brilliant, attractive actors as your subjects, to have the perfect movie set as your background, to have the lighting already flawlessly arranged for each shot, then for the two famous directors to invite you in to capture it all on film - that is a photographer's dream. Steve Schapiro is a lucky bastard.

Schapiro's photos from the films The Godfather and Taxi Driver--the current exhibition at Catherine Edelman Gallery--are enough to make any photographer jealous. They just look so easy. But their seeming simplicity belies their intricacy. Sure, the elements were handed to Schapiro (here is a borderline, brooding, mysterious cab driver with chiseled abs and piercing eyes and a lot of shiny guns; Here is a thirteen-year old, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, big-hatted doll who is the most unlikely participant in prostitution ever), but it takes a master to know to arrange those elements into a breathtaking photograph--a breathtaking moment, really.

The show is full of those moments. In one photo, Marlon Brando stands unflinching before the camera, holding a cat that is blurry in an obvious, squirming attempt to get away from him. In the movie, the cat rubs against the Godfather, juxtaposing a seeming soft side with a character that is definitely not soft. The blur of the kitten in Schapiro's photograph is closer to the truth of Brando's character. The mafia leader's subjects most likely wanted to get out of his grasp too. In another photo, a midriff-baring and hot short-wearing teenage prostitute, Iris (Jodie Foster), walks out of the frame as a group of men on the street watch her from behind. The sign above their heads reads "For Rent", as if it were a thought bubble instead of a real estate sign. These moments work better as photographs than they do in film. As fast as a motion picture goes, details like a street sign or the movement of a cat vs. the stillness of a Godfather are lost. Luckily they can be found in Schapiro's photographs.

bey.jpg

Dawoud Bey: "A Boy In Front Of The Loews 125th Street Movie Theater"; photo courtesy of Stephen Daiter Gallery.


Across the street at Stephen Daiter Gallery, Dawoud Bey's photographs achieve the same revelation of character, but with a less recognizable cast. Walking into the Dawoud Bey: Early Portraits exhibit is like walking into and through 1970s Harlem or Brooklyn, which is what Bey did. The photos fall between candid and posed, and make even the latter seem natural. Some of the subjects seem to invite you in while others wonder what the hell you are doing on their street. It is like walking through a town where even if the residents do not know your name, they will still always look you in the eye. One "Girl in the Dell Doorway" stares at the viewer, silently begging him or her to help her figure out how to leave the city, while the "Boy In Front Of The Loews 125th Street Movie Theater" owns the street with his confidence and his oversized sunglasses. They might as well be characters from Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, or James Joyce's Dubliners. Bey did for New York what these authors did for their respective title cities--he defined a town by its characters, but he went one step further and put a face with that town's stories.

 
GB store
GB store

Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

Blogroll

ACRE
An Angry White Guy
Antena
AREA Chicago
ArchitectureChicago Plus
Arts Engagement Exchange
The Art Letter
Art or Idiocy?
Art Slant Chicago
Art Talk Chicago
Bad at Sports
Bite and Smile
Brian Dickie of COT
Bridgeport International
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chainsaw Calligraphy
Chicago Art Blog
Chicago Art Department
Chicago Art Examiner
Chicago Art Journal
Chicago Artists Resource
Chicago Art Map
Chicago Art Review
Chicago Classical Music
Chicago Comedy Examiner
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Daily Views
Chicago Film Examiner
Chicago Film Archives
Chicago Gallery News
Chicago Uncommon
Collaboraction
Contemporary Art Space
Co-op Image Group
Co-Prosperity Sphere
Chicago Urban Art Society
Creative Control
Defibrillator
Devening Projects
Digressions
DIY Film
ebersmoore
The Exhibition Agency
The Flatiron Project
F newsmagazine
The Gallery Crawl...
Galerie F
The Gaudy God
Happy Dog Gallery
HollywoodChicago
Homeroom Chicago
I, Homunculus
Hyde Park Artcenter Blog
InCUBATE
Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
J-Pointe
Julius Caesar
Kasia Kay Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rob Kozlowski
Lookingglass Theatre Blog
Lumpen Blog
Marquee
Mess Hall
N'DIGO
Neoteric Art
NewcityArt
NewcityFilm
NewcityStage
Not If But When
Noun and Verb
On Film
On the Make
Onstage
Peanut Gallery
Peregrine Program
Performink
The Poor Choices Show
Pop Up Art Loop
The Post Family
The Recycled Film
Reversible Eye
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Roots & Culture Gallery
SAIC Blog
The Seen
Sharkforum
Sisterman Vintage
Site of Big Shoulders
Sixty Inches From Center
Soleil's To-Do's
Sometimes Store
Steppenwolf.blog
Stop Go Stop
Storefront Rebellion
TOC Blog
Theater for the Future
Theatre in Chicago
The Franklin
The Mission
The Theater Loop
Thomas Robertello Gallery
threewalls
Time Tells Tony Wight Gallery
Uncommon Photographers
The Unscene Chicago
The Visualist
Vocalo
Western Exhibitions
What's Going On?
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
You, Me, Them, Everybody
Zg Gallery

GB store

 

Events


A/C on Flickr

Join the A/C Flickr Pool.



About A/C

A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Nancy Bishop, nancy@gapersblock.com
A/C staff inbox: ac@gapersblock.com

Archives

 

A/C Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15