W.M.HUNT: George Eastman House Exhibition

W.M. Hunt at Home, Oct 2011
Photograph © Elizabeth Paul Avedon

The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the Unconscious
(Aperture, 2011) by W.M. Hunt

The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the Unconscious
(Thames and Hudson, 2011) by W.M. Hunt

When I turned 50, I decided my life’s mission would be to promote the pleasure of photography. – William Hunt

The first U.S. exhibition of 550 photographs from W.M. Hunt’s extraordinary collection opened at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. Selected works include photographs by Man Ray, Irving Penn, Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Edward Steichen, Robert Mapplethorpe, Berenice Abbott, and Nadar in a range of formats from daguerreotype to digital. Highlights from the collection have previously been shown at the Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles, France; the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland; and Foam-Fotografiemuseum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Thames & Hudson in the UK, Actes Sud in France and Aperture in the U.S. are simultaneously publishing his book, The Unseen Eye: Photographs From the W.M. Hunt Collection, to accompany the show.

Hunt’s collection follows an unprecedented theme in which the subject’s eyes are averted, hidden, concealed, pierced, or missing in every photograph. He began collecting over forty years ago with his first acquisition, Veiled Woman, by Imogen Cunningham...read the full Interview here

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Photographer Paolo Ventura exploring Hunt's Collection

[Paolo Ventura comes into the apartment during our talk. His exhibition The Automaton of Venice is at the Hasted Kraeutler Gallery through October 15 and he’s visiting for the day before returning to Italy. Ventura and Hunt discuss some 19th century photographs of nude women, prostitutes, Paolo saw in a flea market. Somebody had drawn beautiful masks to cover the eyes on the negatives.]

WM Hunt: The mask thing is a strange thing in the collection, because masks let the eyes in and this is very much about not letting the eyes in. For the show at the Eastman House I took out all the masks, so there are pictures in the book that aren’t going to be in the show.

My sister is the only one who’s seen all the different incarnations of this collection, so I’m curious to see what she thinks. This one will be really dense...read the full Interview here

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W.M. Hunt, with Gary Schneider diptych, Retinas, 1998.
Photograph © Elizabeth Paul Avedon

WM Hunt: Gary Schneider was doing a talk at ICP one night, just beginning work on the Genetic Self-Portrait series, and he showed a slide of this diptych. (Retinas, from ‘Genetic Self-Portrait’, 1998) When the lecture was over, I made a beeline for him. I wanted it. It looks like this moonlit night in the haunted forest; it looks like a lot of things. I think it’s very exciting.

[In “The Unseen Eye,” W.M. Hunt writes: “This is part of Gary Schneider’s ambitious self-portrait series, based on the extraordinary conceit of appropriating X-rays of the interiors of his own eyes – this really is the ‘unseen eye’ – and then printing these in his exquisite and exacting fashion. This image is a haunted landscape of the soul under a full moon, eerie and rapturous.”]

I’ve known Gary a long time and think he’s a real talent. His skill as a printer always preceded him. He had a photograph of a friend of ours daughter, Fotofolio’s Julie Galant and Martin Bondells’ daughter, Anya, when she was about 8 or 10. I bought it. It’s a great, great picture now in the book. (Gary Schneider, Anya, 1994)...read the full Interview here


Caio Fern said...

relevant collection and generous attitude sharing this with viewers in general.
Would be great to have more photography/art collectors like that.
It shows real love for the object collected and its meaning. Not only love for the 'possession" of it and its market value as many collectors have showed today.
great interview. thanks.

the plant gardener said...

I enjoyed this interview very much