august 25th, 2019
Spry quickly caused a sensation with her unorthodox displays, taking inspiration from the 17th and 18th century Dutch Masters’ still lifes and their unlikely ingredients. One of her first commissions was for a display in the window of Atkinsons, an Old Bond Street perfumery.
It was Spry’s democratic attitude to decoration that broke the mold of floristry forever. Spry’s writing encouraged garden foraging – using whatever one could find to express themselves artistically. Her 1957 book A Millionaire for a Few Pence offered to improve the quality of people’s daily lives with just a few flowers and a little imagination.
august 14th, 2019
An imaginative visionary who claimed to have “smuggled art” into his body of work, photographer Erwin Blumenfeld often embraced mischief when he produced his images.
His friendship with Dadaists impacted how he experimented with photography and his life experiences, which took the German-Jewish photographer from his Berlin birthplace to a failed business in Amsterdam to internment camps in France and eventually to the United States, also fed into the dark visual subtitles of his images.
“While producing commissioned work for fashion houses and magazines, he surreptitiously incorporated references to avant-garde art,” Kooiman stated. “Blumenfeld was one of the first to realize fashion photography was not about displaying the latest fashion, but about creating iconic images.”
august 25th, 2019
Cecil Beaton was a British photographer and designer best known for his elegant photographs of high society. Working within a cinematic approach, his black-and-white images are characterized by their staged poses and imaginative sets. He was mostly self-taught as a photographer, though he did study in the studio of Paul Tanqueray. Beaton was hired by Condé Nast in his early twenties, and chronicled the golden age of fashion with his 8×10 inch camera for the glossy pages of Vogue and Vanity Fair, lensing 20th-century icons from Marlene Dietrich to Pablo Picasso, Coco Chanel, Sergei Diaghilev, Lucian Freud, Albert Camus, Jean Cocteau, and Salvador Dalí, among endless others. During World War II, his focus shifted to documenting the realities of war throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, forging a prolific and varied career. “Be daring, be different, be impractical,” he once declared. “Be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”