Galerie Miranda presents an exhibition of vintage photographs by Dave Heath (1931-2016, US/Canada), the first European gallery exhibition of Dave Heath’s work. Entitled ‘Alone, together’, the exhibition presents emblematic works that express Heath’s central themes of loneliness and alienation in modern society.
Influenced by W. Eugene Smith, in whose workshops he participated, as well as the photographers of the Chicago School including Aaron Siskind and Harry Callahan, Dave Heath worked mainly on the streets while living in Philadelphia, Chicago and New York, seeking to capture the fractures and growing unease in booming American post-war society, prior to the rise of the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War.
His seminal publication A Dialogue with Solitude was conceived in 1961 and finally published in 1965 after difficulty in finding a publisher, then reprinted in 2000 with a preface by Robert Frank. The book stunned by its emotional potency, thanks to Heath’s sensitive translation of an intimate experience of the world, something lived and felt: tension in the city streets, between the constrained proximity of bodies and the isolation of individuals in the crowd, who fill his frame with their ‘absent presence’. Heath photographed strangers of all class and generation; riding the train, watching other passers by or just staring pensively into the distance, lost in thought. In his own words, Heath “endeavoured to convey not a sense of futility and despair, but an acceptance of life’s tragic aspects.” He also captured glimmers of joy and tenderness that intersect the series like brilliant rays of sunshine.
Primarily self-taught, Dave Heath made his first living as a photography assistant in commercial studios and earned acclaim as a darkroom printer: first while living in Chicago, beginning in 1955, then in New York City, by 1957, where he lived until the mid-1960s before embarking on a teaching career. After 1968, Dave Heath stopped working with B&W photography and devoted his time to teaching (in particular at Ryerson University Toronto – now Toronto Metropolitan University) in Canada, where he later became a citizen and died in 2016.
The selection at Galerie Miranda focuses on Heath’s tightly cropped portraits and duo compositions, with signature highly contrasted vintage artist prints, all made between 1959 and 1966.
Exhibition organised in friendly collaboration with Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York
David Heath : Alone, together
from 2 March to 6 May 2023
21 rue du Château d’Eau
75010 Paris – France