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Date(s) - 12/08/2018
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

photo-eye Bookstore + Project Space


Portrait of George Harrison by William Coupon
Portrait of George Harrison by William Coupon

For more than 40 years William Coupon has photographed an astonishing array of esteemed artists, politicians, athletes, and intellectuals, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Carter, and Mohammed Ali among many others. Inspired by classic portrait painters such as Rembrandt and Holbein, Coupon’s signature style places his subject against a hand-painted backdrop lit by a single oblique light source. This rich chiaroscuro lends Coupon’s portraits a dynamic weight while focusing our attention on his sitters’ expressions and engagement with the camera. The results are captivating. As an exhibition, William Coupon: Portraits acts as a kind of time capsule examining the personalities who have helped shape the last half-century.

“I was always inspired by travel, by culture, by faces – for some reason, I have been drawn to formal portraits and their relationship to painting. I became interested in formal studio portraits in 1979 while observing its lower Manhattan youth, my peers, and its present counter-culture, and decided early on to use a single light source and simple mottled backdrop as a studio style. My first thought was to photograph everyone in the world in formal portraits, on my backdrop.” – William Coupon

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