Jeanloup Sieff: Shadow Lines

Jeanloup Sieff: Shadow Lines

MonoVisions Black & White Photo Contest 2024

Nature and landscape, fashion and nude: the French photographer Jeanloup Sieff moves masterfully throughout genres establishing himself as one of the great talents in the history of photography. The exhibition “Shadow Lines” offers a comprehensive and very personal view of Jeanloup Sieff´s work. Featuring 48 photographs, this exhibition shows him as an artist who has not only chosen to utilize the wide-angle lens to achieve a strikingly cinematic approach, but also as one who challenges the limits of black and white photography through an unusual play of light and shadow.

Jeanloup Sieff once described his approach which would become a personal hallmark as: “the pleasure in crazy light, the pleasure in making forms visible, to compose spaces and encounters”. The exhibition “Shadow Lines” unites his particular joy of photography, his unusual and often humorous pictorial language, and shows a compilation of dreamlike landscapes and poetic nudes from the late 1960s to the 1990s.

Even barren landscapes of California’s Death Valley are captured in soft contours in Sieff’s black and white shots. Whether sand dunes or jagged rocks, whether a naked back or a female nude, he creates undulating curves through the composition of his subjects as flowing structures, only to then open new perspectives with hard contrasts and a fine play of light and shadow. In his nudes, the photographer stages pure femininity and youth with a tender eye for detail and intimate arrangements. The exhibition entices the viewer into a voyage of discovery from picturesque sand dunes over gracefully draping cliffs, along curvaceous buttocks and breasts to elegant backs. The viewer is guided through this journey of discovery through the clear shapes, lines and shadow play which pass through his photographs.

The son of Polish immigrants, Jeanloup Sieff discovered his passion for photography in Paris in the 1940s, when he was gifted a camera for his 14th birthday. His breakthrough came only years later when he was given a commission from French magazine Elle. From then on, his list of clients rapidly increased, reading like a catalogue of who’s who in the world of high gloss magazines such as Vogue, Esquire, Paris Match, and Harper’s Bazaar. It is not surprising therefore that Sieff is remembered particularly as a fashion photographer – a categorization against which he fought vehemently throughout his life. Besides well-known fashion photographs, a wide-range and omprehensive collection of reportage, portraits, nudes and landscape photographs was created. Without fail, his singular view through the lens continuously sought uniquely specific forms through a ubiquitous interplay of organic elements.

Jeanloup Sieff
Shadow Lines
September 28th – December 16th 2017

Galerie 36
Chausseestraße 36, 10115 Berlin

Derrière anglais, Paris, 1969

Derrière anglais, Paris, 1969 © Estate Jeanloup Sieff

Dune du Pilat, 1973

Dune du Pilat, 1973 © Estate Jeanloup Sieff

Lanzarote, 1996

Lanzarote, 1996 © Estate Jeanloup Sieff

Par un jour pluvieux, Paris, 1975

Par un jour pluvieux, Paris, 1975 © Estate Jeanloup Sieff

Paris, 1992

Paris, 1992 © Estate Jeanloup Sieff

Profils, Paris, 1989

Profils, Paris, 1989 © Estate Jeanloup Sieff

Ubehebe Crater, Vallée de la Mort, 1977

Ubehebe Crater, Vallée de la Mort, 1977 © Estate Jeanloup Sieff

Vallée de la Mort, 1977

Vallée de la Mort, 1977 © Estate Jeanloup Sieff

MonoVisions Black & White Photo Contest 2024