Selected and Obama’s People

20 March – 30 April 2010

Camera Work Gallery
Kantstrasse 149
10623 Berlin

Camera Work presents a double exhibition showcasing works by London-based photographer Nadav Kander in its gallery show rooms as well as its Museum The Kennedys.

Nadav Kander, who has received numerous international awards, most recently won the prestigious photo prize Prix Pictet, including in the short list, Andreas Gursky, Ed Burtnsky, Ed Kashi among others. In the same year, he was also awarded the Lucie Award 2009 for best international photographer. For many years, Kander's photographs have been an integral part of distinguished collections such as those of the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It is our special honor to present parts of his versatile work for the first time in form of a double exhibition.

Under the title Selected, the gallery presents powerful portraits of artists and well-known figures as well as a variety of landscape series such as Colour Fields, God’s Country, and Arctic Circle. The gallery exhibition will be expanded by the presentation of Obama’s People at the Museum The Kennedys. The portraits of members of the Obama administration, originally produced for The New York Times, form a series, which has been highly praised internationally. The series was printed in the German magazine Stern, among others, and illustrates Kander's exceptional talent of highlighting characteristic traits of the figures displayed.

The unpracticed self-staging of the persons depicted, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi excepting, leads to an interesting interaction with the camera and thus to portraits of high authenticity. Obama’s People is juxtaposed with Richard Avedon's legendary 1976 series The Family, which depicts all the players in the electoral campaigns of President Gerald Ford and his contender Jimmy Carter in a way hitherto unparalleled.

Selected at Camera Work gallery
The exclusive selection of portrait and landscape photographs presents an exemplary cross-section of the work of Nadav Kander. Portraits of legendary actors such as Michael Caine and Sophia Loren alternate with cinematic scenes which make Benicio del Toro and Christopher Lee appear surprisingly vulnerable and lost. Kander is able to capture the beholder through his secretive pictorial language thus drawing him or her into the mostly mystical scene. This unique atmosphere can be equally detected in the portrayals of musicians such as Richard Ashcroft (The Verve), Michael Stipe (REM), and Boy George.

The overwhelming snowy landscapes of the polar circle of the series Arctic Circle unfold a magical atmosphere as do the night-time shots of fields and the sea-surf of the Pacific Ocean from the series Colour Fields. In the series God’s Country, Kander documents his trip through American suburbs. Akin to the American art style "New Topographics", Kander, in his photographs, depicts landscapes and places which have been altered by man. Apart from notes critical of civilization, the pictures, which often appear to be surreal, also broach issues of solitude and doubt.

Obama’s People at the Museum The Kennedys
The series Obama’s People, developed in 2008, focuses solely on the administration – members of the cabinet and closest staff members – of the current President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. The outstanding 53 portraits depict, among others, U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. This series of photographs, commissioned by Kathy Ryan, Director of Photography, and Gerald Merzorati, editor of The New York Times, was published in the magazine's special edition of January 18, 2009. The colour photographs depict the regency in Washington, D.C., with subtle dynamics in the form of half-length portraits. The pictures are characterised by an accuracy with which Kander submits the politicians to a unique perspective.

Complimenting Kander's Obama’s People, Camera Work will present Richard Avedon's Series The Family – published in the magazine in 1976 – from its own collection. Richard Avedon was one of the most influential and significant fashion and portrait photographers of the 20th century. During his long-term occupation as photographer for New Yorker, Avedon developed his own puristic, reduced pictorial language in his portraits. In addition, he worked for Harper’s Bazaar as well as Vogue and received numerous awards, not the least of which the Highest Achievement Medal.

The internationally renowned photo series of Richard Avedon and Nadav Kander will be presented together for the very first time, and they unveil the media-based transportation of politics as well as the reciprocal effect between political staging and specifically directed image cultivation.