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Peter Fetterman Gallery : The Power of Photography #30


This is the 29th installment of the online series by Peter Fetterman Gallery called the Power of Photography highlighting hope, peace and love in the world. We invite you to enjoy and reflect on these works during this time.


André Kertész
Stairs at Montmartre, Paris, 1926
© Andre Kertesz / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“The moment always dictates in my work. Everybody can look, but they don’t necessarily see. I see a situation and I know that it’s right”
~ André Kertész (1894-1985)

André was a modernist, revolutionary. His images are always quiet and subtle. The complete opposite of “in your face” as most contemporary photography is. This is a small gem of a print. I have often kept it on a little table easel on my desk and I look at it whenever I need a dream like distraction. He keeps the central space empty and plays with light and shadow instead and creates a perspective that makes the image so fresh and unique. As his fellow Hungarian photographer and great friend Brassai said “André Kertész has two qualities that are essential for a great photographer. An insatiable curiosity about the world, about people and about life and a precise sense of form”.


Gianni Berengo Gardin
Venice Lido, 1958
© Gianni Berengo Gardin / Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery

Gianni is 90 years old now but like many photographers I have met who live into a ripe old age they are still full oflife and positive energy. This image has always put a smile on my face. I guess I am old enough to remember 78 gramophone records and record players like this. There must have been a whole era before streaming services!No social distancing here. A moment of spontaneous joy and happiness to revel in.


Thurston Hopkins
On The Isle de la Cité, Paris, 1952
© Thurston Hopkins / The Grace Robertson | Thurston Hopkins Archive / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“I take the rather unpopular view – among photographers – that words and pictures need one another.”
~ Thurston Hopkins

I have a feeling Thurston would have enjoyed our daily series, pairing words with photos. Especially as a lifelong photo journalist. Hopkins spent most of his career working for Picture Post. Unlike other photographers, Hopkins firmly believed in the importance of a strong rapport between the writer and photographer. Hopkins himself has said, “I take the rather unpopular view – among photographers – that words and pictures need one another.”


Ralph Gibson
Place de la République, Paris, 1986
© 2023 Ralph Gibson / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“For me, photography is a subtractive process. If you’re making a drawing, you add lines until you’ve finished, so that’s an additive process. If you’re making a sculpture out of marble, you subtract and keep chipping away until you have what you want. In the same way, in a world of infinite possible objects to photograph, I eliminate everything I don’t want in a frame until I’m finally left with what I do want.”
~ Ralph Gibson

Ralph Gibson’s eye is unmatched in creating visually striking photographs. He meticulously arranges elements within his frame to create strong graphic compositions that feature clean lines, geometric forms and a sense of balance. Gibson’s exceptional attention to detail and minimalist style create a sense of wonder and invite the viewer to engage with his photographs beyond their physical form. Harmony and elegance are embedded within this simple, yet dazzling, image


William B. Post
Woman Picking Flowers, 1900
© 2023 William B. Post / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“If you look the right way, you can see the whole world is a garden”
~ Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924)

William B. Post was one of the great turn of the century pictorialist photographers. His great advocate was no less than the legendary Alfred Stieglitz who revered his photographic accomplishments and promoted him when and wherever he could. Stieglitz invited him to become a member of his Photo Secession group. He was a master practitioner of the platinum print process and this exquisite print is absolutely beautiful in person.


Bert Hardy
Millions Like Her, Betty Burden, A Shop Girl, Birmingham, 1951/Printed later
© 2023 Bert Hardy / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“The ideal picture tells something of the essence of life. It sums up emotion, it holds the feeling of movement thereby implying the continuity of life. It shows some aspect of humanity, the way that the person who looks at the picture will at once recognize as startlingly true”
~ Bert Hardy

Bert left school at 14 years old to work for a chemist who also processed photographs. He was completely self-taught and used a Leica early on which was really unconventional for press photographers of that era. He was the star photographer for the magazine “Picture Post”, the UK equivalent of “Life Magazine”. This, one of his most tender images, it will be included in our upcoming gallery exhibition.


Bernard Plossu
Marseille, 1975
© 2023 Bernard Plossu / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“My camera is like the arrow. Do I reach the target or does the target reach me or is it the same thing? It’s all very emotional.”
~ Bernard Plossu

Bernard is a quiet, dedicated serious artist of the “old school” but totally relevant today in his supreme craftsmanship and choice of subject matter. He lives and breathes photography without any ego and has devoted his life to it. His sense of composition is beautiful. What for many would go unnoticed here is a serene, lyrical vista imbued with so much emotion. Tranquility and peace exemplified in a exquisite analogue silver print.


George Zimbel
Woman at the Bar, Bourbon Street, New Orleans , 1955 (Printed 2008)
© 2023 George Zimbel / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“My work begins with recording an image, but it is not finished until I have made a fine print. That is my photograph. A lot goes into a finished documentary photograph, a very personal view of life, a knowledge of technique and of course information. It is the information that grabs the viewer but it is the photographers’s art that holds them.”
~ George Zimbel

It is a bar in New Orleans in the 1950’s. What is great about this image is that there are several layers of storytelling going on in a single frame and George creates a great period mood piece.

But it is the story of the woman at the bar that holds us and with his customary sense of empathy George allows us into her world and life. I find it deeply moving in the way I find Edward Hopper’s paintings deeply moving. We don’t and never will know her complete story but we are there with her, which makes the image so powerful. It’s a punch to the heart.


Elliott Erwitt
Paris, Arc de Triomphe, 1956
© 2023 Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“In life’s saddest winter moments, when you’ve been under a cloud for weeks, suddenly a glimpse of something wonderful can change the whole complexion of things, your entire feeling.The kind of photography I like to do, capturing the moment, it is very much like that break in the clouds. In a flash, a wonderful picture seems to come out of nowhere”
~ Elliott Erwitt

Walking along the Champs-Élysées towards the Arc de Triomphe is something many of us, in fact millions of us, have done so many times. Nothing much seems to happen when I’ve done it.

But in the hands of a master, magic suddenly appears out of the blue and Elliott creates an image that just glows with feeling and emotion.


André Kertész
Pont Marie at night, PARIS, 1963

© Andre Kertesz / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“Everybody can look but they don’t necessarily see”
~ André Kertész (1894-1985)

André embraced Paris as a Hungarian emigre and Paris embraced him back. It was a relationship of mutual respect and passion. The city nurtured his unique poetic vision and his technical prowess allowed him to capture its beauty especially at night as is evidenced here in this rare signed print. The Pont Marie is a bridge which crosses the Seine. It links the Ile Saint -Louis to the Quai de L’Hotel de Ville and is one of three bridges designed to allow traffic to flow between the Ile Saint Louis and the Left and Right banks of Paris. I had the great fortune to walk it after Paris Photo two weeks ago. I am still floating.


Peter Fetterman Gallery
2525 Michigan Ave, #A1
Santa Monica, CA 90404


The Power of Photography is now a book published by ACC ART Books.

Peter Fetterman : The Power of Photography
Pages: 256 pages
Size: 7.87 in x 9.06 in
ISBN: 9781788841221

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