by Zoe Aron
It’s not every day you see a photograph of Nicole Kidman taking a drag of a cigarette as a young Tom Cruise peers over her shoulder. With photographs ranging from notorious celebrities such as Andy Warhol, Tom Ford, Valentino, Madonna and Zac Posen to the local villagers in the Amazon forest of Brazil, Jonathan Becker’s art does more than just paint a pretty picture. His photographs give the viewer a peek into the souls of these untouched individuals, revealing a side of the wealth and the glamour not normally captured by photographers. With his new exhibit at SCAD FASH, “A Fashionable Mind: Photographs by Jonathan Becker” — his first in 30 years — Atlantans get an up-close look at more than 60 photographs from his vast portfolio, hand-placed by Becker himself.
Unlike other photographers who attempt to capture their subject’s full attention, Becker instead prefers to showcase his subject in a more natural and candid setting, capturing the “human-ness” of even the most famous of his subjects. Brassaï, the great Hungarian artist, was a mentor to Becker and “encouraged [him] to show the light of the soul, an essence only achieved through intense observation of human character.” Though starting his career as a portraitist at Interview magazine, Becker shifted into more of a documentarian in the 1980s whilst at Town & Country magazine and eventually contributing to Vanity Fair.
Although his work was regularly on display in New York throughout the 1980s, Becker shifted his time from preparing exhibitions to instead focus on travel assignments. It was his relationship with good friend André Leon Talley, a SCAD trustee and longtime mentor to SCAD students, that led to the creation of this exhibition. Two of the images in the show were actually taken at the SCAD campus in Savannah — the portrait of André Leon Talley and that of Alexandre Kotur (style director of US Vogue) nursing her daughter. SCAD was an appealing location to Becker for its own merits, as well. “SCAD is an academic institution governed by phenomenally inspired principals without commercial constraints,” he says.
Through April 1, 2016.
Showing concurrently with Daniel Lismore's "Be Yourself; Everyone else is Already Taken."
1600 Peachtree St NW