ART KANE

  • Posted by Douglas Graves on October 31, 2022 at 3:16 am
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    I’ll get the discussion started with my favorite photographic artist, Art Kane. I highly recommend his timeless work. He has many iconic pictures, particularly the 1960s rock musician portraits of his for magazines such as LIFE & LOOK & they are simply the best. His 1961 classic “We The People”, which is included among my selections here(it’s the 1 with the American flag), is a truly great & iconic LIFE Magazine photograph! So brilliant & masterful.

    And he made many other kinds of great photographs in his long career that are also favorites of mine. He was a master of the craft with supreme technical virtuosity & skill, & he had complete command & control of the technology & materials of the photographic art form. He combined his great skill with a beautiful & human artistry. He had a strong background as an art director of magazines & he loved to illustrate concepts in his photographs & communicate important ideas to a broad audience.

    Most of his work has a pre-conceived design concept that is used to illustrate conceptual content such as a topic, theme, metaphor, or an expression of a quality of a person in one of his portraits.

    And what I love most about his work is his unbelievably beautiful, immaculate, magisterial visual style & manner. His photographic art reminds me of the best of graphic design, illustration, & art direction put together into a photograph, & the results are jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring, & unforgettable.

    I recommend his official estate website, ArtKane dot com, run by his son Jonathan Kane & Jonathan’s wife Holly, & the gallery:

    wallofsoundgallery dot com/en/art-kane-f8

    which has a wonderful selection of his great work.

    Here is an excellent introductory article as well:

    savagethrills dot com/artdesign/pictures-from-a-visionary-art-kane/

    & here’s a revealing & insightful interview with his son & daughter-in-law: interviewmagazine dot com/art/art-kanes-angular-eye

    If you enjoy his work or have other links & resources or your own ideas on him to share, please write us back by replying to this message in our discussion on the legend Art Kane!

    Douglas Graves replied 1 week, 6 days ago 2 Members · 10 Replies
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  • Taya Iv

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    October 31, 2022 at 9:25 am
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    @douglas-graves Wow, what an amazing artist! I love the sunset photo with the reflection. It’s always a pleasure to come across artists who experiment with different angles and photography techniques. Thank you very much for sharing his work with the community.

    Which photo of his is your favourite and why?

    Douglas Graves voted up
    • Douglas Graves

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      November 2, 2022 at 3:45 am
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      Hi Taya, I really appreciate hearing your reaction to his work; it’s great to know I introduced you to Art Kane.

      I also love that 1958 portrait of jazz legend Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong in the Mojave Desert. It’s way too hard to choose just 1 favorite from his incredible body of work but that 1 is definitely way up there! I love how he is in the rocking chair with his famous trumpet next to him in the setting sun & the way the upside down reflection of him & his trumpet is so strong & clear in that body of water. I love the almost gradient like transition of the sunset color from the top of the picture to the bottom water reflection part. The image is so clear & with beautiful, rich saturated color. He was great at using a 21mm wide-angle lens to get powerful compositions with deep focus.

      I think the picture is a ‘reflection’ on his life as he gets older & enters his sunset golden years. His other picture of Armstrong from this shoot, the closer view of him, is also so incredibly beautiful. It’s fantastic how he has Armstrong’s eyes lined up perfectly with the setting sun, even though he’s actually looking off to the south, of course.

      The 2 southwest desert landscape shots are also huge favorites of mine! They are epic. And as I mentioned earlier, We The People is another classic & one of my favorites.

      Taya Iv voted up
    • Douglas Graves

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      November 2, 2022 at 2:33 pm
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      Also, these are 2 more favorites of mine from Art Kane! Just brilliant use of compositing layers of pictures together, or as he referred to it, “sandwiching”. Love the colors in both. The baby’s face, especially his blues eyes, superimposed over the bed, is so powerful. And the pretty woman superimposed over or with the equally pretty, colorful flower meadow & woods, I find so pleasurable & beautiful. Love the way the 2 picture elements are blended together, like a movie dissolve that is frozen midway.

      I feel that both photographic images have a strong dreamlike quality; the 1st 1 is somewhat unnerving & sad feeling to me like something’s wrong or off. It’s in a darkened room & the baby overlayed on the bed is of course surreal & bizarre. On the other hand, the image of the lovely woman in the meadow is of course peaceful, bright, gorgeous, & romantic looking, & makes me feel like an afternoon day dream or dreamy half-asleep nap outside in the sunny forest.

      Taya Iv voted up
      • Taya Iv

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        November 4, 2022 at 11:50 am
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        @douglas-graves Wonderful observations! I’m sure that Art Kane would appreciate your feedback. “Sandwiching” is a very interesting term that I’ve never heard of before.

        I wonder how he created this effect. It reminds me of double exposure photography, which we’ll cover in our 52 Week Project soon 🙂 Definitely a great source of inspiration. Thank you for diving into Art Kane’s work and giving us a clearer idea of who he is!

        Douglas Graves voted up
      • Douglas Graves

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        November 5, 2022 at 4:28 pm
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        My pleasure!

        Here’s what I’ve been able to learn about his ‘sandwiching’ editing technique & process so far:

        “equipped only with a light table and a loupe, Kane invented the ‘sandwich’ image; two, four, and more transparencies layered, inverted, reversed, book-matched, painstakingly aligned, and taped together at the edges.”

        Mr. Kane “sandwiched slide images for montage; by layering two or more Kodachrome transparencies, he created ‘sandwich’ images.”

        So, my understanding is that he was shooting Kodachrome color slide film photographs & then would make transparencies of them & by hand layer them together, I think in what is called an optical printer, & then print a copy of his picture sandwich, with absolutely breathtaking & technically perfect results. I love the thickness weight, & vividness of film opticals; composite photomontage visual effects made by mechanical & photo-chemical means. That’s my favorite kind.

        Taya Iv voted up
      • Taya Iv

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        November 7, 2022 at 9:54 am
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        @douglas-graves So it’s indeed a form of double exposure photography, but in film! Amazing. That must be very challenging to create.

        Douglas Graves voted up
      • Douglas Graves

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        November 9, 2022 at 3:50 am
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        I don’t think he made double exposures in-camera, at least not in the ones I’ve seen so far.

        His sandwiched pictures are my favorite photomontage composites & superimpositions ever!

        Taya Iv voted up
      • Douglas Graves

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        November 17, 2022 at 12:50 am
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        Here are some more great photographs by the legend Art Kane.

        Taya Iv voted up
      • Taya Iv

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        November 18, 2022 at 9:32 am
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        @douglas-graves Very dynamic and eye-catching images that tell a story! Lovely work.

        Douglas Graves voted up
      • Douglas Graves

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        November 18, 2022 at 4:19 pm
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        You’re so right that they’re incredibly dynamic & eye-catching; they’re so cinematic, dramatic, & kinetic.

        They don’t tell a story but rather, they illustrate a concept of some kind, such as an idea, theme, or metaphor about a topic or person. And some of them look like something out of a movie or like they were taken out of some kind of story.

        I love how they are so bold & emotive; they’re meaningful & expressive in purely photographic terms.

        Taya Iv voted up