in focus Galerie continue their new online series “Magic of Photography”.
“Dear friends of art and photography,
In the period of the risk of corona infection with restrictions on public and cultural life, we would like to present photographs from the gallery’s inventory every Tuesday to Saturday, instead of our regular opening hours. These photographs are among our absolute favorite pictures. We invite you to enjoy these exciting works of art with us.
Looking back, our first meeting with Ben J. Fernandez in New York was quite amusing. Like so many artists before and after him, he offered us his mother’s house in Hoboken, opposite to Manhattan, as a place to stay for our one-week stay. We were very happy with his offer, especially when we saw the beautiful old house. But, when unlocking, Ben noticed incidentally that the house was “under construction”. We shared a room with two cats and their litter box and our only washing opportunity was the mini sink in the guest toilet. We were very reminded of the famous picture of Willy Ronis, in which his wife also refreshes himself in a small sink. Slightly shocked, we visited Ben in his home on the same day and quickly realized how good we had it that he hadn’t billeted us. Because he had been living in half a ruin with his wife and mother with dementia for weeks now. His mother had accidentally set fire to the home, and until the insurance company had drawn up a report, Ben could not begin to rebuild it. Suddenly we appreciated our accommodation in Hoboken significantly more.
Another incident showed that Ben is a warm and generous person. While viewing his work in his studio, he asked us if we would be interested in getting to know Lisette Model. Of course we would have liked to meet this great photographer, but hadn’t she died long ago? We were somewhat irritated. Then Ben laughed and led us to a small box with his address on it, the sender was a funeral director. He told us that when his good friend Lisette died, her studio had been emptied at top speed and everything of value had found its new owners. But no one, no relative, no friends, no gallery owner, no collector wanted to pay the funeral director the cremation and take the ashes. So Ben took a heart, settled the bill, and put Lisette Model’s remains on his shelf. This story touched us very much, but it also made us sad.
“Ben Fernandez stems from the period of intensified creative photography, which has had an international reputation in New York and from there in recent decades. His fate was determined by the legendary Alexey Brodovitch (1898-1971), he like many others, such as the important portrait and fashion photographers Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, owed him the essential impulses for their successful careers.
Not just curiosity, but his need for communication and the fact that knowledge is conveyed drives the photographer Ben Fernandez with his selected glances into domestic and foreign worlds. He masters his medium so confidently that his photographs require no comment. They are strong documents of an extraordinary personality. ” (L. Fritz Gruber) (photography above: poor peoples campaign, Memphis 1968, stop racism, printed later, gelatine silver, 22,2 x 32,7 cm, stamped, signed and dated verso)
Inquiries about Ben J. Fernandez´s work or an appointment to visit the gallery can be made by phone or email to email@example.com. We wish you all the best in this unusual time.”
Anja Maria Arnold
in focus Galerie – B. Arnold