Through the lens of Contemporary Photography
SEBASTIÃO6 SALGADO | ANNIE LEIBOVITZ | STEVE McCURRY | ROBERT POLIDORI| EDWARD BURTYNSKY
February 17 to March 27, 2016
Sebastião Salgado’s black-and-white prints lay bare some of the bleakest moments of modern history as well as some of the planet’s last remaining wonders. Travelling to more than one hundred countries, he has made it his life’s work to document the impact of globalization on mankind.
On view at Ayala Museum are landmark pieces from his Workers series, which he began on the 1980’s. The epic body of photographs captures the fragility and fortitude of manual laborers across continents. Highlights range from Gold Mine of Serra Pelada, Brazil, 1986, showing miners toiling in a hellish landscape of Oil Wells Firefighter, Greater Burhan, Kuwait, 1991, featuring a lone worker confronted by lethal flames.
Annie Leibovitz is one of the biggest names working in photography today. Over her storied career, she has become celebrated for her captivating portraits of public figures.
This presentation showcases a selection of her most enduring images including historic works from the 1970s such as Richard Nixon Leaving the White House, Washington, D.C., and a moody portrait of singer Patti Smith. Among the more recent works of note are intimate portraits of celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Hotel Ritz, Pariz, 2005, and the iconic photograph of the nude, pregnant Demi Moore.
Magnum photographer Steve McCurry shot to fame with his green-eyed Afghan Girl portrait, which graced the cover of National Geographic in 1985. Since then his evocative color images have become modern icons, recognized by people across the globe.
The photographs on display are among his most prized works, shot in Afghanistan, India, Lebanon, Philippines and Turkey. These striking images memorialize the landscape and culture of each country. Blue City, India, 2010, depicts a sea of magnificent blue-tinted buildings in Jodhpur. Having travelled to India more than eighty times, McCurry has long been celebrated for his photographs of the Subcontinent. Last year, Phaidon released the photo book India featuring many of the photographer’s unseen works.
Robert Polidori is renowned for his evocative images of building exteriors and interiors. Altered by the passage of time and the people who have lives in them, his photographs are investigations into the psychological implications of the human habitat.
On view here are pivotal early works from the series including Vestibule, (73) AMI.01.009, Salles Emipre, Aile du Midi – R.d.C, Château de Versailles, France, 1985, which depicts a grand filled with unhung paintings. For Polidori, not only is the interior space a vessel of memory but it also reveals how the nation’s curators perceive their history.
The exhibition also features his lauded series on the formerly splendid metropolis of Havana, Cuba. Polidori explored decaying mansions in the city such as Calzada de Infanta 55 (at the corner of Humboldt), Centro Habana, Havana, Cuba 1997. Tonally rich and seductive, images such as this are the product of a single long exposure taken after long hours of waiting for the right light.
EDWARD BURTYNSKYEdward Burtynsky shoots disarmingly beautiful images of industrial landscapes ravaged by mankind. His painterly, often abstract photographs, frequently shot from an aerial perspective, show the massive scale of environmental devastation across the globe. Burtynsky began photographing nature in the early 1980s. His early works were intimate explorations of Canada’s unspoiled landscapes. By the late 1980s, however, he began to investigate industrial incursions into land with arresting results.
On view are images from his most ambitious project yet, Water, which he began in 2007. This series documents the scale and impact of manufacturing and consumption on the world’s water supplies. Burtynsky chronicles how human interference is depleting this precious resource. Among the highlights of the Canadian photographer’s work is Colorado River Delta #2, which shows a now other worldly, landscapes, which hasn’t seen water from the river in more than forty years.