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Leica Lover

Jessica Phyllis Lange

Jessica Lange


1949. április 20.

"I never shot on sets, but if I was traveling somewhere or on location, I would always have my camera, and I'd always be - it's that kind of fly on the wall approach to photography, though. I don't engage the subject. I like to sneak around, skulk about in the dark."


The actress Jessica Lange will probably go down in history as the beautiful ingénue that bewitched a humongous gorilla in the 1976 remake of King Kong, or the sexy waitress in the 1981 version of The Postman Always Rings Twice (for another bewitching actress Watch La Dolce Vita Actress Anita Ekberg in the Famous Trevi Fountain Scene).

But what’s perhaps lesser-known is her artistic side: Lange is a seasoned photographer, with a remarkable exhibition record that includes shows at Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York and ROSEGALLERY in Los Angeles.

Tomorrow, the Arts Santa Mònica center in Barcelona will open “Unseen,” a solo exhibition gathering 150 images that Lange has taken in the last 20 years, during her travels across Mexico and the U.S.

Lange’s photographic journey began, in fact, even before her career on the silver screen. In 1967, she received a scholarship from the University of Minnesota to study art and photography, but she subsequently dropped out to travel to Europe, where she began taking mime and acting classes in Paris in 1971. The rest, as they say, is (Hollywood) history.

But in the 1990s, when her then-partner—the actor, playwright, and director Sam Shepard—gave her a Leica M6 camera as a present, Lange began snapping photographs again.

The results are brooding, picturesque scenes that bring to mind the work of the legendary photographer Diane Arbus, who was also keen on shooting with a Leica camera, or Arbus’s teacher and mentor, Lisette Model (see In a New Book, Alexander Nemerov Looks at his Aunt, Diane Arbus).

The gaze of all of these photographers seem fascinated with finding beauty in unsettling scenes, a somber quality accentuated by the use of black and white film. Lange doesn’t date her photographs, and only provides a location as a title, which emphasizes even further their timeless appearance.

Moreover, Lange is famously cryptic when it comes to explaining her work. When Anne Morin, the curator of the exhibition, asked her what she had aimed to capture in her photographs, Lange simply quipped: “Oh, things I see.”

See some of the highlights of Jessica Lange’s forthcoming exhibition in the slideshow above.

“Unseen” by Jessica Lange will be on view at the Arts Santa Mònica center in Barcelona, from April 22–June 28.

Source by Lorena Muñoz-Alonso, last update 2023.02.24

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