A Stroll Through Modernism with Ezra Stoller

East
Thursday, January 6, 2011
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Ezra Stoller TWA Terminal at Idlewild (now JFK) Airport, Eero Saarinen, New York, NY, 1962 Gelatin Silver Print © Ezra Stoller, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

An exhibition of architectural photographer Ezra Stoller’s work will open at the Yossi Milo Gallery tonight in New York and runs through February 12. A few of the photos are instantly recognizable, such as a photo of the Guggenheim lobby featuring women in pillbox hats standing in the foreground. But the gems of the show are those taken off the beaten path, like the roof of the Seagram’s Building or a parking garage in Miami.

Ezra Stoller Miami Parking Garage, Robert Law Weed and Associates, Miami, FL, 1949 Gelatin Silver Print © Ezra Stoller, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

Ezra Stoller Seagram Building, Mies van der Rohe with Philip Johnson, New York, NY, 1958 Gelatin Silver Print © Ezra Stoller, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

“We see it as a mini-retrospective,” said Milo. “We wanted to show more than the slam-dunk photos, to give it more depth.”

The images show not only Stoller’s precise technical ability, but also reveal the self-effacing nature of architectural photography: that of an artist recording work of another artist. But the depth of Stoller’s appreciation for art and design makes it easy to forget that one is looking at a stand alone work of art. Not only is the genius of Mies, Wright and Saarinen observed, but the works of Picasso, Kandinsky, and Miro peer out from building interiors as well. The artworks act as a magnet, pulling the viewer further in. In a single shot of a Seagram interior one of Rothko’s “Red” paintings hangs next to the next to an Eames sofa which sits across from a Franz Kline.

“These were such new ideas. Now people sit with an iPhone and think that’s modern,” Milo said gesturing to the photograph.

Ezra Stoller Seagram Building, Mies van der Rohe with Philip Johnson, New York, NY, 1958 Gelatin Silver Print © Ezra Stoller, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

The gallery owner noted that some photos that didn’t make it into the show revealed the photographer’s intense interest in the building process.

“There are photos from the beginning of when the U.N. was being built. He kept going back and going back,” he said.

Ezra Stoller TWA Terminal at Idlewild (now JFK) Airport, Eero Saarinen, New York, NY, 1962 Gelatin Silver Print © Ezra Stoller, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

The images show buildings shot at all times of day and in all kinds of weather, taken at night, in the rain, after the rain, or, as in one photo of Saarinen’s TWA terminal, as a lightning storm approaches. That particular silver print holds varying tones of white within the building interior, while simultaneously retaining all the grays and blacks of the approaching storm.

Ezra Stoller General Motors Technical Center, Eero Saarinen, Warren, MI, 1950 Gelatin Silver Print © Ezra Stoller, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

2 Responses to “A Stroll Through Modernism with Ezra Stoller”

  1. Bill Saunders says:

    WONDERFUL!! Especially good to see images little known yet brilliant and prehensile!

  2. Elemental Architecture says:

    In conjunction with the exhibition of photographs currently on view, Elemental is pleased to present photographs of projects by its predecessor firms including Richard G. Stein & Associates and The Stein Partnership by by Ezra Stoller/Esto.

    Visit our Facebook page to see these incredible photographs: http://ow.ly/3FQV5

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