Monroe, Churchill & Stallings - From the BackMonday, January 27, 2020
|Marilyn Monroe, Bill Ray|
Bill Ray (83), one of the last staff photographers for Life Magazine died on January 9 in Manhattan. As the portrait photographer that I define myself as I have a particular fondness for the man as one of his most famous photographs is that of Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday to President Kennedy. What is unusual is that the photograph features Monroe seen from the back.
|Winston Churchill - Philippe Halsman|
For me this is a portrait. I believe that a portrait does not necessarily show the face. There is a tradition (at least I have observed this) of taking “portraits” from the back. My favourite portrait of Winston Churchill was taken by Philippe Halsman in Chartwell in 1951. I find it superior to Karsh’s.
In my years as a magazine photographer and particularly a photographer of dance I fell for three female dancers. One was Evelyn Hart, the second was Sandrine Cassini and the third, the subject of this blog, Lauri Stallings. Lauri Stallings, an American from Florida was hired by Ballet BC in the mid 90s. She had red hair and a style so distinctive that I could watch the Ballet BC dancers from the ankles down and I always knew which one was Stallings. Such was her ability to stand out that she was eventually let go and she reappeared directing a dance company in Atlanta. With Stallings I had a project which was to photograph the anti-ballerina. The idea was to show that female dancers were not swans, and that they sweated and were short of breath like most other humans. In our collaboration I wanted to convey that she was primarily a woman. I believe we succeeded.