BRUCE WEBER (B. 1946)
John Sauerland, Olympic Swimmer, Hall of Fame Pool, Summer 1983
gelatin silver print
signed, titled, dated and numbered '1/5' in pencil (on the verso)
23 3/8 x 18 1/8in. (59.7 x 46.6cm.)
Bruce Weber's fashion photography first appeared in the late 1970s in GQ Magazine. This, followed by ground-breaking campaigns for Calvin Klein in the 1980s and 1990s, established his international reputation reputation as one of the finest fashion photographers of the generation. Weber's thoroughly 'American' images, an artful blend of chaste male camaraderie and eroticism have been deeply influential not only on subsequent photographers, but has also heightened his audience's perception of what constitutes an 'ideal' male physique in contemporary advertising.
In addition to his commercial work, Weber has produced several photographic essays, including his 1983 photographs of athletes in training for the 1984 Olympics, published in the January/February 1984 issue of Interview (illustrated), and Bear Pond, published in 1991. Images from both important series are represented in the following lots.
Such a substantial and coherent group of Bruce Weber's early photographs have not, until now, been offered at auction. The following lots, from A Private New York Collector, however, offer compelling evidence of Weber's role as both artist and taste-maker.
Rosemary Carroll: I think the men that you shoot are very striking....Their perfection sets them as much apart from ordinary people in a way as Arbus' subjects' freakishness sets them apart. Is that something you feel your photographs share with hers?
Bruce Weber: I remember talking with Lisette [Model] about this around the time of Diane's show at the Museum of Modern Art and we both talked about how romantic her photographs were. We were talking about some pictures Diane Arbus had done for the London Sunday Times of some Rockers. They were taken at night of couples on motorcycles and I just thought they were some of the most romantic pictures I'd ever seen and I feel that Diane really loved the people she photographed. When you photograph somebody even if you don't like them you're still stuck with them for pretty much the rest of your life. You know, it's a little like getting married.