The Power of Photography #29

Winford Hunter

This is the 29th installment of the online series by Peter Fetterman Gallery called the Power of Photography highlighting hope, peace and love in the world. We invite you to enjoy and reflect on these works during this time.


Sarah Moon
L’été (The Summer), 1989
© Sarah Moon/Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery

The process of creation. Sarah has always engaged in the great dance of life on a level very few can reach. She has been given a special gift of observation and incredible insight which thankfully she shares with us.


Ralph Gibson
White Nude, 1989
© Ralph Gibson /Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery

Much of Ralph’s work is spare, sensual and profound like this image. He has lived a full and rich life which is thankfully still ongoing with great travel, adventures and deep encounters with many of world’s greatest painters, writers and photographers from Dorothea Lange to Marguerite Duras. But he can hold his own with them in terms of sophistication and productivity.Perhaps the hardest subject to contribute something fresh and inventive to is the female nude but here it is in front of you to marvel at in all its beauty.


Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004)
Swan Lake, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, USSR, 1954
© Henri Cartier-Bresson, Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson/Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery

Henri was always very self-deprecating. I don’t think I ever heard the word “art” come out of his mouth when talking to him about his work. To call one of the greatest bodies of work produced in the 20th Century in any medium as a “trade” is of course quite amusing. No one was more a witness to the great moments of history than he was. He was the first Western photographer to be allowed to work in the Soviet Union and given incredible access because of his international reputation. No more so than the permission to photograph behind the scenes of the celebrated Bolshoi Ballet. His long out of print book “The People of Moscow” is a book collector’s gem. Of course, for me it was always a dream to own a great Degas painting but this image is up there with one.


Emmet Gowin
Edith, Chincoteague, Virginia, 1967
© Emmet Gowin Estate/Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery

I don’t think there is a more powerful, romantic, tender, intimate image in the history of photography than this one. Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. Emmet Gowin has spent many years photographing his wife Edith. They are more than just a series of images of her. He has created a novel about her. I find the emotion permeating this special one so intense and universal. It is almost a summation of a life fully lived through all its stages in one single frame. But in the end it is really about what it is to love and be loved.


Arnold Newman (1918-2006)
Martha Graham, 1961
© Arnold Newman, Arnold Newman Estate / Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery

Arnold Newman loved to shoot his subjects in their natural environments. That’s why he took his cameras over to 316 E 63rd Street on March 2nd, 1961 to capture the formidable Martha Graham. She was known as the Mother of Modern Dance, as important to her profession as Picasso was to painting or Stravinsky was to music or Frank Lloyd Wright was to architecture.

She stands in front of her rehearsal barre almost as if an arrow is about to pierce through her heart and she is ready to move to escape it and in the process move us with her power and sheer force of nature as she did in each her performances and creations.


Louis Stettner (1922-2016)
Times Square at Night, New York, 1952
© Estate of Louis Stettner / Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery

Louis was mentored and encouraged by the great Paris-based, Hungarian-born photographer, Brassaï. Brassaï was renown more than anything for his incredible night time images shot in Paris in the 1930’s.

It was hard for Stettner not to have been influenced by one of his key teachers. Louis always told me that “Times Square” was the belly button of New York. He lived nearby and would often go there in the evening with his camera. People would come from all over New York to take in a movie, or a play or just to walk around. He was fascinated by the constant waves of humanity to be found there.

I also think on this particular night he must have also been stimulated into action by the billboard for Elia Kazan’s great, great film “On The Waterfront”. No one who ever saw it when they were young could ever forget the power of it not to mention Brando’s haunting performance.


Wynn Bullock (1902-1975)
Child in Forest, 1951
© Estate of Wynn Bullock / Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery

I think Wynn is being perhaps being a little too modest here. I think to create an image of such beauty and power you would have had to devote a lifetime of dedication and experience to the task at hand. It is so far removed from just a simple act.

It was one of the stand out and most popular images in Edward Steichen’s 1955’s celebrated “Family of Man Exhibition” which later toured the world to enormous acclaim. This is an image one can stare at for hours and meditate on its various layers of meaning. But the one thing everyone can agree on is its luminosity as a print.


Neil Leifer
Portrait of Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers posing during Camera Day at Ebbets Field. Brooklyn, New York, 8/12/1956
© Neil Leifer / Iconic Images / Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery

This is a remarkable photograph of Jackie Robinson, one of Baseball’s all-time greats and the first player to break down the game’s racial barriers. What makes it remarkable is that Neil was only 14 years old at the time. He went on to have an illustrious career turning sports photography into an acknowledged art form. It was taken on “Camera Day” at Ebbets Field, a tradition where once a year the players posed for the youngsters in the stadium before the game began. Neil managed to hustle his way into a great position and created an iconic image of one of his heroes in his final year in the Major Leagues. Pure magic.


William Klein
Wings of the Hawk, 42nd Street, New York, 1955
© William Klein / William Klein Estate / Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery

Here William Klein captures all the edginess and allure in the signage and lighting of a pre-Disney clean up of Times Square. It’s like Scorsese in “Taxi Driver” but a generation or two before. You are caught up in the crowd, in the energy of the street and the allure of the movie marquee lighting. Cinema would be an allure for Klein too and he spent a big part of his career making films like the fashion world send up “Who are you Polly Magoo?” and the wonderful documentary “Muhammed Ali: The Greatest.”


Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002)
Ernest Hemingway, 1957
© Yousuf Karsh, Yousuf Karsh Estate /Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery

I have been enjoying the new Ken Burns/Lynn Novick PBS series on Ernest Hemingway. They are such superb filmmakers and it seems that whatever subject matter they turn their attention to, they unravel so many new and surprising levels of story-telling. Hemingway is no exception. It is not just a story about one writer’s tempestuous life. It really is a story about America and indeed the human condition itself. And staring at this great Karsh portrait, one of his best, is the perfect complement.


Peter Fetterman Gallery
2525 Michigan Ave, #A1
Santa Monica, CA 90404


The Power of Photography is now a book published by ACC ART Books.

Peter Fetterman : The Power of Photography
Pages: 256 pages
Size: 7.87 in x 9.06 in
ISBN: 9781788841221

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