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A glamorous show

Every year, Spectrum Art Gallery brings in an out-of-town exhibition. You won’t want to miss this year’s offering, “Photographs from the Willem Photographic Gallery,” which is in its opening weekend at the gallery. This crowd pleaser of a show emphasizes some of the best fashion, glamour and portrait photography of both past and present.

The owner of the Willem gallery, Brooke Gabrielson, a Sanger native, will give a gallery talk at a reception 5-8 p.m. Saturday.

I have a review of the show in Friday’s 7 section. In my piece, I contrast two works in the show taken of the same subject by different photographers. They’re both stunning depictions of the high-fashion model Nadja Auermann. Here’s the first by Patrick Demarchelier:

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And here’s the other, by Irving Penn:

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Though the works were taken within a few years of each other, you wouldn’t know they were of the same person. I think it’s interesting how in both photographs Auermann is looking down — in Penn’s case her eyes look closed — but with strikingly different results.

Here’s what I write about the two photos:

In one photo, it’s as if Nadja Auermann is taking a pause in a dream. She wears a stunning white strapless gown that collides haute couture with dainty ballerina, the gauzy layers forming a soft wedge billowing around her. Bathed in light streaming in from a window, she looks down at an urban street below, and there’s such a controlled grace to the scene it seems as if she’s in perfect repose even while standing.

We see Auermann, a top high-fashion model in the 1990s, again in another photo, but such a strikingly different image that it’s hard to tell it’s the same person. The shot is much tighter, showing her upper body, arms and face, and the bare camisole she wears conveys vulnerability. In her left hand she holds her right breast, her fingers emphatically spread and her clutch deliberate, as her chin rests on her other hand. Her eyes, cast downward, are closed. Not exactly a dream — but there’s still something dreamy about it, with a pensive-tough edge framing the moment.

Stop by when you get a chance to see the show, which runs through April 29. Or make a point to be at the gallery talk with Gabrielson, who will have some interesting stories to share about such big names as Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.

Responses to "A glamorous show"

I’m looking forward to visiting the show and hearing Brooke Gabrielson speak about it on Saturday.