Ken Heyman is one of the ten most influential photographers working today. He is known for his arresting images of human encounters and relationships. Narrowing the distance between photographer and subject, Heyman exposes his subjects' emotions and psychological character. He shot more than 150 assignments for Life magazine and has photographed luminaries such as Pablo Picasso, Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, and Mother Teresa. For his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, Heyman presents diverse images shot in more than 60 countries. The show will chronicle the American photographer's prolific career, featuring works that have never been exhibited and resonate powerfully with a global audience. A special series of prints exploring Hollywood's golden years will also be on view.
Seen through Heyman's lens, scenes of everyday life assume gravity. In a single frame, he captures the tension, humor, and fragility that define human existence—whether it's a portrait of a poverty-stricken street child in Hell's Kitchen, New York, or a close-up of Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller on their wedding day. Not only does Heyman shoot with impeccable timing but he creates compositions that are witty and uncontrived. Probing gently, Heyman looks beneath the surface discovering fascinating subtexts and uncovering patterns of human behavior.
Heyman began photographing people in the early 1950s. He studied under the famed anthropologist Margaret Mead at Columbia University. Mead invited him to accompany her on a field trip to Bali and after he graduated in 1956 other field trips quickly followed. Thus began their life-long collaboration and friendship. Traveling extensively, he began exploring anthropological themes such as family and kinship. It was during this seminal period that he discovered his artistic voice. In the early 1980s, Heyman developed a new technique that he describes as "hip shots." Holding the camera at hip level, he introduced an element of chance into his photography, which gives rise to dynamic compositions.
This exhibition reflects the breadth of Heyman's oeuvre featuring hip shots, iconic portraits, and intimate photographs of people that combine to form a global family. Curator Sundaram Tagore says, "Ken Heyman has managed to capture the dynamic flow of history in the most intimate manner. He suffuses his work with humanity, which is his trademark."
Heyman has authored more than 50 books and his work is represented in major private and public collections around the world. He has had innumerable exhibitions at institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art and the American Museum of Natural History, New York; The International Center of Photography, New York; the Zabriskie Gallery, Paris; and most recently, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York.
The exhibition Humanity will be accompanied by a catalogue spanning the breadth of Ken Heyman's career.
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