Press Release: JOHNNY ROZSA - UNTOUCHED
October 22nd - November 28th, 2010
Opening Reception: Friday, October 22nd, 6 to 9pm
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 11am – 6pm; Monday & Tuesday by appointment
Christopher Henry Gallery presents JOHNNY ROZSA - UNTOUCHED, an exhibition of photographs by acclaimed celebrity photographer Johnny Rozsa. For over 30 years Rozsa has created iconic images of the most famous of visages. The purity and natural beauty of Rozsa’s work is a contrast to the pervading practices of the entertainment and fashion industry, whereby a perfect image is attained at any cost. The celebrity photos of today are a fabrication of proposed and imposed cultural identity involving Photoshop manipulation, airbrushing, and digital enhancements. Rozsa’s masterful portraits of glamorous icons do not rely on any of such trickery or tampering, instead they are a throwback to the classic Hollywood glamour days of lighting and makeup, as exemplified in his radiant shots of a smoldering Susan Sarandon basking in the art deco glow of a spot light, every inch (not pixel) of her a superstar. There is a depth and richness of these analog-age photos that is lost in the digitally processed age, where everything is filtered, compressed, expedited and engineered for mass consumption.
Many of the UNTOUCHED stars have since gone under the knife to be tweaked and transformed by plastic surgery in hopes of emulating their modern, Photoshoped alter egos. Rozsa’s book, however, is a unique look at the most photographed faces of our generation recorded by the artist in their raw state before botox, nose-jobs and other cosmetic procedures. Instead Rozsa has injected his warm personality and charming wit into the subjects, each time finding a genuine connection, allowing us to experience these larger then life figures as real people. There’s beauty and warmth in imperfection, as demonstrated by the invite image Emily Lloyd, 1996 a print which survived a flood in Rozsa’s basement, damaging the negative with psychedelic swirls of color and mottled textures – a key to the images striking anachronism. The portrait itself, an archetypal Marie Antoinette styled beauty, seems to personify the elusive fountain of youth - she appears both antiquated and modern, dated and timeless, her face boldly withstanding the ravages of time which deteriorate her surroundings.
The exhibition is presented concurrent with the publication of Rozsa’s first monograph, UNTOUCHED, published by Glitterati, a collection of 160 never-before-seen untouched photographs of the biggest names in Hollywood. Featuring such stars as Robert Mitchum, Susan Sarandon, the Jackson family, Grace Jones, Halle Berry, Rick James, Boy George, and a special section dedicated to the legendary Leigh Bowery.