The acclaimed photographer Frank Horvat is considered a pioneer in what has come to be regarded as the golden age of fashion photography. He was the first fashion photographer to use a 35mm camera and reportage techniques, and has influenced generations of fashion photographers. His distinctive images of models taken in the streets combine the realism of spontaneous photojournalism with the artifice of directed staged photography. Based in Paris, Horvat’s distinguished career spans over sixty years. This exhibition will provide a long overdue, indepth interpretation of this key figure in the history of fashion photography.
About the Artist
Frank Horvat was born 1928 in Italy. During the Second World War Horvat’s family moved to Switzerland. In 1947, he returned to Italy to study drawing at the Brera Academy in Milan. Soon after, he started working for an advertising agency and began freelancing for Italian magazines. His first photo essay was published in 1951 by the Italian magazine ‘Epoca’. In the early 1950s, after traveling to Pakistan and India as a freelance photographer, Horvat settled in London, working for LIFE magazine and Picture Post. In 1955, the same year his work was first shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the Family of Man exhibition, Horvat moved to Paris where he first started focusing on fashion photography and joined Magnum. During this time Horvat worked for major publications such as Jardin des Modes, ELLE; Glamour, VOGUE and Harper’s Bazaar. He worked with important designers such as Coco Chanel and Givenchy as well as the Parisian nightclubs, Le Sphinx and Crazy Horse.
Horvat’s first solo exhibition was Arbres in 1977 at the Musée des Arts Décoratives, Nantes, Frances, immediately followed by the International Center of Photography, New York (1978) and the Centre Pompidou,Paris (1983). His work has been included in major group exhibitions: Fashion Photographs, Victoria and Albert Museum, London (1985) Photographes et Creatures de Mode, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris (1988) and VANITÉS, Centre National de la Photographie, Paris (1993). His photographs have been featured in many publications including ENTRE VUES, Éditions Nathan Images, Paris (1990). Horvat’s works are in major museum collections including Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Kunst-Bibliothek, Berlin.
Horvat is still prolific today.“Taking a photograph is like responding to an appeal: as if a person, or a tree, or a situation was calling me, crying out to me,” he has said. He continues to work on personal projects including a photo journal about “La Véronique”, his beloved country retreat and “Trip to Carrara”, a series of digital collages taken in marble quarries in Italy. Horvat has always been unafraid to experiment and adapt to new technology, and driven by this innovative spirit, he continues to look for new challenges. He was one of the first, of his generation, to embrace digital technology and has developed a unique iPad application called “Horvatland “ featuring 2,000 photographs and an extensive online archive.
About the Curator
Vince Aletti is a renowned New York based curator critic, and collector with a profound knowledge of fashion photography. He recently curated a series of exhibitions on fashion photography for the International Centre of Photography in New York including This is Not a Fashion Photograph, Weird Beauty: Fashion Photography Now and Avedon Fashion 1944-2000. His exhibition of portraits Male, based on his photography collection assembled over the last thirty years, was shown at Presentation House Gallery in 2008 and is also a book. Aletti publishes his writing in numerous journals and his texts have been included in major publications such as Andrew Roth’s The Book of 101 Books, Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century.
He was The Village Voice’s photo critic for over a decade and a collection of his weekly columns on disco music, The Disco Files 1973-78: New York’s Underground, was published in 2009. He won the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award for writing in 2005.