Not 2 minutes into Larry Finks lecture, he delivered that line accompanied by a photo of his mom and Irving.
It was laid out deadpan.
Comedy? Satire? Lecture structure? Whatever, it worked and got the crowd to loosen a bit.
And as he further described his photographs you understood what he meant when he said that his images are not meant to judge or glorify, but to present a truth, a reality. His reality.
[photopress:finkPI.jpg,full,centered]Â© Damon Webster
A tenured professor at Bard in NYC, Mr Fink is on tour courtesy of the good folks at Aperture. Tonight , it was at the Hammer Museum in Westwood CA.
He entertained the respectful ( read: QUIET!) crowd with stories behind his images as diverse as his family, Vanity Fair Fashion assignments and the praying mantis at his home, a farm in Pennsylvania.
One of the highlights were the stories of the coverage of his own show at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC. After 3 months of planning, he had strategically placed about 17 strobes around the event venue.
Then with an assistant following with a pole strobe (yep, just what it sounds like- a strobe head on a pole) he had a field day photographing the high end fine art world attendees. To be truly current, the images were shot digitally, and uploaded to screens live, at the event. Not known for his beauty portrait style the crowd wondered when the REAL photographer was arriving. Unfortunately, he was vilified as he reacted to that comment and let everyone know he was one of the best photographers ever. Honestly, he is not shy about his mastery, but the revelers should have understood whose work they were becoming a part of, live.
[photopress:finkhomagetogeorgegrosz.jpg,full,centered] Â© Larry Fink Homage to George Grosz
Fink reflects on his work,â€œSome people mistake my work for satire. I donâ€™t object because satire is a powerful force, so if the work is seen that way it serves one function. But I donâ€™t agree. The pictures are taken in the spirit of finding myself in the other, or finding the other in myself. They are taken in the spirit of empathy. Emotional, physical, sensual empathy. This work is political, but not polemical. There is potential for the formation of an underlying theme in how the system suppresses and distorts both the rich and the poor, but it is not Marx who chooses the characters in this book; it is lust, attraction, and destiny.â€
[photopress:2004_18_14fink.jpg,full,centered] Â© Larry Fink- Grubman Wedding
One of our favorite books of his, is the homage to music, Somewhere There’s Music. Other than his commercial work, his photography has a full-on jazz feel to it in a riffy, yet surprisingly specific way, but the flow is all there.
Did that all make sense?
But we did want to let you know that we had Larry Fink sign one of his books which will be next weeks giveaway.
Details to follow.
[photopress:finkpi2.jpg,full,centered] Â© Damon Webster