At first there were the portraits, mainly celebrity portraits. Then came the nudes. At first mixed, male and female, and then almost exclusively male. The body of his work is marked by light and shadow, and truth in the gaze of his subjects. Here is Greg Gorman's work.
The number of celebrities photographed by Greg Gorman is so impressive that it is difficult to choose which examples are the most relevant. Shall we look at the artists like Andy Warhol and David Hockney? Shall we look to the directors like Hitchcock or Orson Wells, or to the actors like Al Pacino or Leonardo di Caprio? Or do we look to music with the likes of George Clinton or Michael Jackson? But the enumeration would be too vast. It seems that Greg Gorman has indeed photographed all of the personalities registered in collective culture.
So, let's start with the beginning. In 1968, an enthusiastic Greg Gorman borrowed a camera from a friend and attended a Jimmy Hendrix concert. Two weeks later, he continued with Jim Morrisson, then Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker... These various experiments brought him to photographic studies at the University of Kansas. His objective was to become a photojournalist.
Greg Gorman transfered to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles to study cinematography. He soon realized that what he wanted to do was to shoot celebrities. Greg Gorman's started off by making head shots for actors for 35 dollars, film and developing included. With perseverance, Greg Gorman slowly entered into the Hollywood scene and with some luck started to photograph famous musicians like David Bowie and Tom Waits.
It was also during this early period that the Greg Gorman style was born. He says that his early portraits were "exchangeable" and thus without great interest. Greg Gorman began to learn and perfect his talent to capture the individuality of his models. At the time he was working mostly with actors and he discovered how a simple glance can not only reveal the personality of the subject but it could go farther.
He began to hone his craft by experimenting with lighting. He perfects the game of shadow and light, which helps him create mystery and imagination in his photos. Greg has built a reputation on his command of shadow and light in his photography. In the 80's, his portraits began to take on a more intimate dimension. He moved his camera closer to his subject as his vision became frontal. At the same time, he began a personal work investigating nudes. For Greg, this work allowed him to experiment again with his creativity. The work on nudes continued his research into individuality and light as well.
A marriage of sensuality and mystery, his nudes were applauded. He published Volume I and II and his work was exposed in galleries around the world. Into the 90's, he continued to evolve with more use of natural light as one of his working axes. He developed more work on outdoor nudes, joining the curves in nature to those of his models.
In the beginning of the digital revolution Greg Gorman was hesitant. But once the quality and ease of use of digital technology began to rival the expensive methods of film, he proved to be very quick in learning the new tools.
He gets a lot of personal satisfaction through teaching, his speciality being black and white photography. Also, his personal work of nudes began to be more male oriented. He published another book, As I see it, where his models were mostly all men. His most recent book, Ode of Pindar, is also dedicated to the male genre. The title makes reference to the Greek poet who, in his time, celebrated the exploits and the beauty of athletes.
Some of the recent projects Greg Gorman has undertaken have not followed in the Greg Gorman style that he is known for. He has traveled the USA taking photos of normal every day Americans. Also he has voyaged to Thailand where he took photos of Thai kick-boxing and the Kathoey, the lady boys. He plans to also take on more humanitarian projects like an African Aids project and other ecological and humanitarian projects.
In the future, Greg Gorman will continue his personal work possibly in a series on the performers of the Cirque du soleil. He will also dedicate himself to an other of his big passions, wine, by making a series on wine makers.
We welcome Greg Gorman with open arms to Fine Art Tv.