Date(s) - 12/08/2018
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
photo-eye Bookstore + Project Space
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