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Michael Somoroff–Master Photographers


A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart, and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it, it is in one word, effective. “
- Irving Penn

Master Photographers: Portraits by Michael Somoroff is a body of work Michael Somoroff made thirty-five years ago. He took it upon himself to photograph in-depth his heroes and mentors, the master photographers of the twentieth century. Michael Somoroff had been introduced to their work and subsequently to many of the photographers themselves by his father, the pre-eminent still-life photographer Ben Somoroff.

In honor of each of these photographers mentoring Somoroff, he began a series of portraits of his heroes including Brassaï, Ralph Gibson, André Kertész, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Arnold Newman, Helmut Newton and others. Each was caught at the quintessential moment thereby defining a period of photography that was unique … the climax of the analog photographic experience.

The book contains a vast array of cutting edge artists photographed formally as well as behind the scenes who informed Somoroff’s art and craft.

Diana Edkins

Michael Somoroff studied at Parsons The New School for Social Research in New York City. He later moved to Hamburg where he met and was guided by F.C. Gundlach and others, including Brassaï, Jeanloup Sieff, and Robert Doisneau. It was in Europe that his career as a photographer really took off. Somoroff photographed for virtually every major magazine on the continent. From Europe he eventually moved back to the United States and continued photographing as well as developing work in other mediums. He is an internationally celebrated director/cameraman, and a senior partner in one of the most successful commercial production company’s in the world, MacGuffin Films Ltd. In 2011, his body of work titled Absence of Subject in which he appropriates select images of August Sander as an homage to the artist was published as a monograph entitled Absence of Subject: The Images of Michael Somoroff and August Sander, and also exhibited on Piazza San Marco during the 2011 Venice Biennale. In 2006 he was invited by the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas to place his acclaimed photo based sculptural installation, Illumination I, on the campus grounds. It was the first such invitation ever made by the Chapel, and the only addition to it since Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk was placed there some 30 years prior. A book about the making of this groundbreaking installation was published by the chapel that same year, and includes an essay by renowned art historian David Anfam. Somoroff’s work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., among other venues. He is represented by the Feroz Gallery, which is owned by Julian Sander, the great grandson of the great portrait photographer August Sander and the Thomas Schulte Gallery in Bonn. 

Master Photographers: Portraits by Michael Somoroff
Author : W. Ewing
Editor : Grafiche Damiani
ISBN 8862082118
40 €

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