Andy Summers “Del Mondo” photography exhibition at Leica Los Angeles

Shanghai-May-2013--e1383486052756

Shanghai. May 2012. (c) Andy Summers

Andy Summers shared a love for both music and photography from as early as the late 1970s. As the guitarist in one of the biggest bands of the 20th century – The Police – his photography became an extension of his music.

While the band toured the world, Summers documented behind the scenes, giving an intimate, personal and unique point of view that could not be captured by hired press. Much later, after The Police stopped touring and stopped making music as a band, Summers produced with Taschen (2007) “I’ll Be Watching You: Inside The Police 1980-1983.” His first photography book of the band and their travels was “Throb” (William Morrow & Company, 1983), currently out of print. Since the band’s demise, Summers has been productive in both solo music projects and photography, the latter of which has extended his art to numerous exhibitions, magazine essays, photography publications and recently, keynote presentations of his work.

For his exhibition at Leica Los Angeles, Summers presents his global travels through a series of striking black and white portraits. You won’t find any images of music in this project, instead we see people and places and gritty raw realities of people’s lives in many parts of Asia.

I spoke to Andy about his upcoming exhibition in Los Angeles, his use of Leica and his photographic process.

GL: Tell me about your upcoming exhibition at Leica Gallery Los Angeles and what we can expect to see?

AS: I am pleased to be exhibiting at the new Leica gallery in LA, as I have been a Leica photographer for many years now. Therefore, to show in the new and first Leica gallery in LA is a distinct pleasure and seems fitting. All the photos in the show are shot with Leica and will be a selection from around the world in the last few years.

GL: When did your love affair with photography, and in particular Leica, begin?

AS: My true pursuit of photography began in the early eighties. I used a Reflex cameras as I started out but switched to the Leica Rangefinder a couple of years later when introduced to it by Ralph Gibson.

GL: From the images I’ve seen in this exhibition, people feature in many of them. Is this a conscious point of view?

AS: There is no conscious shooting of people; it would depend on the situation and if it ignites something in me.

GL: What is your method in setting up an image? Is it a fleeting visit and taking photographs of what you see, and/or do you enter into dialogue with your subject for background information?

AS: It can be both. The real preparation is the effort that one puts into developing photography skills over the years, or seeing photographic possibilities as part of some larger progression.

GL: Which city, town or country has been your most inspiring place to photograph so far?

AS: The inspiration for a photograph is not tied to one town or city, but rather something could be anywhere that grabs one’s visual imagination.

GL: Which photographers have and still do inspire you?

AS: Ralph Gibson, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Henri Cartier Bresson.

GL: From your upcoming exhibition in Los Angeles, can you choose an image to describe its subject matter and creative process?

AS: I wouldn’t pick out one; rather I would say that they are all facets of the process. First being in a situation that is visually stimulating and that may involve shooting rapidly or waiting for a scene to develop visually, i.e., the shapes become better inside the frame, the light improves or whatever it is that you recognize as more compelling.

GL: What more can we expect to see from your photography in 2014?

AS: No doubt I will travel with my Leica monochromatic and see what comes up…more images from China, probably.

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“Andy Summers – Del Mondo” opens at the Leica Gallery Los Angeles with an opening reception on November 9, 2013 from 6pm – 8pm and the exhibition runs to January 4, 2014. Andy Summers will present an artist talk on December 14 at 6pm.

Leica Gallery Los Angeles
8783 Beverly Blvd.
West Hollywood CA 90048

See also: www.andysummers.com

About the interviewer:

Ginger Liu is a contributing editor to Ragazine.CC. You can read more about her in “About Us.”

Art Shay Retrospective at drkrm gallery in China Town

drkrm was founded by John Matkowsky who has a twenty-five year reputation as a fine art black and white printer in Los Angeles. The drkrm gallery specializes in documentary and photo-journalistic work, cutting edge and alternative photographic processes and the display and survey of popular cultural images both current or historic.

For the past 6 years drkrm has presented a superb and continuous array of exceptional exhibits, specializing in more under-the-radar, counterculture presentations. drkrm.

I caught up with John to talk to him about the galleries new exhibit and new location in China Town.

1) Tell us about drkrm’s new Art Shay Retrospective and why this is an important exhibit for the gallery.

Art Shay is 90. His photography career spans nearly seven decades. He has published over 30,000 photographs in his life, which include the likes of kings, queens, presidents, athletes and celebrities as well as the common man. He became a full-time photojournalist in the early fifties shooting regularly for Time, Life, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and the New York Times Magazine, among others. Many of his images are in the National Portrait Gallery. What makes this exhibition important for drkrm is that this is the first time any of these images will be exhibited in Los Angeles, marking Art Shay’s West Coast debut.

2) Explain drkrm’s mission statement and your background in photography.

What started out as a fine art black & white photography lab has evolved into a exhibition space dedicated to the display and survey of popular cultural images (current or historic), fine art photography, documentary and photo journalism, and cutting edge and alternative photographic processes. I feel I specialize in under-the-radar, counterculture presentations. My 25-year background as a Master Printer started with mentor Tom Consilvio, who taught me the finesse of the fine artistic print. Through the years I have worked on the images of Gary Winogrand, William Claxton, Phil Stern and many other renowned artists such as Horace Bristol, Jo Ann Callis, Catherine Opie, Edward S. Curtis and, most recently, Ansel Adams. drkrm’s black & white lab is still dedicated to the highest quality of hand processing and fine printing, specializing in traditional, silver-gelatin printing and film processing nearly lost in today’s digital age.

3) drkrm has moved premises a few times in recent years; has each move been for political, artistic or financial reasons or all three?

We are starting out in our third space in eight years. Each past location has had advantages and disadvantages: artistic, financial and political. Our new location on Chung King Road in LA’s historic Chinatown puts us in the middle of a thriving art scene and combines the best of all the other locations under one roof. We are surrounded by major, important galleries such as theCharlie James Gallery, Matt Gleason’s Coagula Curatorial, and Jancar Gallery. In addition, the space we are now occupying was once China Arts Objects Gallery, the first gallery in Chinatown.

4) How do you like your new location in China Town?

We are new here and everyone is friendly and supportive. I think we will be here for awhile.

5) drkrm is one of the very few west coast photography galleries which showcases black and white, as well as underground and alternative lifestyles work, which I feel puts it up there with galleries in New York, London, Paris, Berlin and Prague, etc. Money and audience obviously an issue and LA is certainly more preoccupied with Hollywood show business but is that the only reason why there are so few art and photojournalism photography galleries in Los Angeles?

Traditionally, you can’t make money showing photojournalistic work. Many people don’t want the aggressive, raw, b&w in your face realism that some of the pictures express. However, I do have a number of collectors who do, so we manage to make sales. I think this type of gallery and work would do much better in Europe or even in New York. At least critically. Trying to balance commerce with art is always tough. But I show what I think needs/warrants/begs to be shown. Because that’s what drkrm is all about. Also, because a lot of the work I like is from the 1970’s and 80’s and tends to be shot on TRI-X.

6) I see that drkrm is receiving more international press in the last year, why do you think this is?

drkrm has been exhibiting some pretty fantastic stuff. People are taking notice, especially in Europe.

7) What do you look for in a photographers’ work to exhibit at drkrm?

The most important thing in an artist’s work is how it affects me. Does it make me feel… something. Basically I show what I like. However, in the back of my mind I think, can I sell this? Again, art is subjective and I suppose I have some lofty idea that I know what great art is, but, somehow, it has to feel important to me. I have curated pictures of transvestite whores on the night-time streets of Mexico City to the surprisingly nostalgic street photography of Ansel Adams.

8) How has drkrm evolved in the last few years and what new things can we expect at the new location in 2013?

For the last 8 years, drkrm has stayed true to its program, curating photo-journalistic exhibitions. We are now offering workshops in Historic photographic processes such as Wet plate Collodion,cyanotypes and Platinum as well as photography and lighting workshops featuring some major artists in photography today. We are trying to keep the dream of film alive.

9) Which photographers and galleries inspire you?

I am inspired by the work of Diane Arbus, Joel Peter Witkin, Larry Clark and Ralph Eugene Meatyard.

Peter Fetterman and David Fahey are two gallerists I greatly respect and admire.

10) Until very recently there seemed to be an annual news report proclaiming the death of photography. Recent digital has really changed things around and photography is as big now as it has ever been and the divide between professional and amateur is very blurred. Is it increasingly difficult to exhibit work produced from a pre-digital age and to convey the difficulties of that process to a contemporary crowd?

Yes, it is difficult. Though occasional aficionados of the process still seek out the old, classic ways of film, unfortunately, almost everyone now thinks what is on the wall is digital. They are not used to seeing silver gelatin prints, which have a have a well known and regarded archival history. In my experience, if a collector has a choice between a digital print or a Silver print of the same image, they usually opt for the Silver print. Even some museums are showing digital prints of classic photography as opposed to vintage prints. I recently saw some photographic images from Thomas Eakins at a local museum that were digital copies.

11) Let’s bring it back round to your new exhibit on March 2nd and Art Shay. Which image in this retrospective really speaks volumes, not only of Shay’s work but photography and the exhibit at drkrm?

There are far too many images in the Art Shay Retrospective to have one shot speak the loudest, but one of my favorites is this somewhat famous shot from the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago where police violently confronted demonstrators. It is of the marque of the Hilton Hotel that proclaims “Welcome Democrats.” Arrayed under the sign is a sidewalk corps of a dozen bayonet-lofting Guardsmen. Powerful stuff.

Art Shay has seen it all.

Interview by Ginger Liu

Art Shay – a retrospective runs from March 2 – April 6.

The opening reception is on March 2, 7-10pm.

drkrm

933 Chunk King Road
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213.928.0973
info@drkrm.com
http://www.drkrm.com

Lil’ Kim wows the crowd at LA Pride

Lil’ Kim at LA Pride – Ginger Liu Photography

Lil’ Kim at LA Pride – Ginger Liu Photography

Lil’ Kim at LA Pride – Ginger Liu Photography

Lil’ Kim at LA Pride – Ginger Liu Photography

Lil’ Kim performed a one hour set for an exited crowd on the main stage at LA Pride 2012.

The American rapper first shot to fame as a member of Junior M.A.F.I.A. in 1995 with Notorious B.I.G.

Her solo career spawned three platinum albums with hit singles such as Crush On You.

 

Grand Marshal – Molly Ringwold:

“Christopher Street West, proud producers of LA PRIDE, have chosen 80’s teen-queen, and current star of ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Molly Ringwald, as the 2012 LA PRIDE Parade Grand Marshal. She has been selected for her long and unwavering support of theLGBT community. The 42nd annual LA PRIDE Parade takes place at 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 10, 2012, on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.”

2012 LA Prid Honorees include, Kamala Harris, Attorney Gerneral for the State of California and Chaz Bono.

Ginger Liu Photography

Film Stills

“The Hand Of Now”

GLIU Photography