Larry Fink (1998-11-20)

Larry Fink
Practice: Photography
Date of Lecture: 1998-11-20

Fink_Larry_p01Photo by: Phil Brideaux

Some people mistake my work for satire…But I don’t agree. The pictures are taken in the spirit of finding myself in the other, or finding the other in myself. They are taken in the spirit of empathy. Emotional, physical, amid spiritual empathy. This work is political, but not polemical. There is potential for the formation of an underlying theme in how the system suppresses and distorts both the rich and the poor, but it is not Marx who chooses the characters in the book-it is lust, attraction, and destiny.” – Larry Fink

Larry Fink has been making photographs for over 40 years. Each of his three publications (“Social Graces“, 1984,”Boxing“, 1997, “Runway“, 2000) has had a significant shaping force on contemporary social documentary. His landmark monograph “Social Graces” documented two very separate worlds – the high-society living of New York’s finest and the daily life of the Sabatine family, Fink’s neighbours in rural Martin’s Creek, Pennsylvania. Fink’s position on the division between the rich and the poor remains conscientiously ambiguous throughout the book, which is partly wherein the series’ interests lie. It is unusual for a social documentary photographer to leave his or her position unclear, and yet this how Fink’s images draw their strength.

FinkL_w01Untitled, 1978

Since “Social Graces“, Fink has continued to follow the lives of the rich and famous of New York city, with particular attention to the fashion industry. His use of hand-held flash lends crime-scene drama to his photographs, which is reinforced by his high-contrast printing. Many of Fink’s images feel related to tabloid photography of the 40’s and 50’s. Larry Fink lives between New York City and Martha’s Creek Pennsylvania where he has a farm with his wife, artist Martha Posner. He is a two-time National Endowment for the Arts Fellow and a recipient of the Guggenheim fellowship. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally- including solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney and The Louvre. Fink’s current work also appears regularly in today’s foremost magazines such as Vanity Fair, W and the New Yorker.

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