Corinne Day, Kate, 1990
Elliott Erwitt, Wyoming, Steam-Train Press, 1954
Wim Wenders, Lounge Painting, Gila Bend, Arizona, 1983
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Queen Charlotte’s London, 1959

A Landmark Photographic Exhibition opens 10 March at Somerset House, London

The must-see photographic event for London 2010, A Positive View, will showcase an extraordinary range of photography on a truly international scale from the 20th and 21st century, under the Royal Patronage of Prince William supporting Crisis, the homelessness charity. A Positive View was first held in 1994 sponsored by Vogue and exhibited at Saatchi Gallery, while the second show was held in 2000 at the Atlantis Gallery in the Old Truman Brewery (London) and sponsored by Getty. The third edition of this fully curated, museum-scale photographic exhibition, to be held at Somerset House, will bring together more than 100 rare and signed vintage works across almost a century of photography; classic and contemporary works will cross a variety of genres, from still-life, fashion, landscape, portraiture and reportage.

Two outstanding masterpieces by Henri Cartier-Bresson will be on show; his renowned Seville (1933) and the magical Queen Charlotte’s Ball, London (1959). Other highlights will include a rare landscape by Elliot Erwitt, Wyoming Steam-Train Press, (1954); Friends of the Spanish Press (1968) by the winner of the 2007 Venice Biennale Golden Lion, Malick Sidibe, a haunting image from Robert Polidori’s New Orleans series (2006) and Corinne Day’s iconic and first-ever seen photograph of the supermodel Kate Moss, Kate (1990). These will be shown along with a stunning still life of Francis Bacon’s Studio (2001) from Perry Ogden’s 7 Reece Mews series and Wim Wenders’ classic Lounge Painting, Gila Bend, Arizona (1987).

For the first time, A Positive View will also feature work from contemporary artists whose creative practice incorporates photography, with geographically diverse representations from Korea, China, Japan and West Africa. With signature works by Seydou Keita, Yum Joongho, Bohn-Chang Koo and Weng Fen among others, A Positive View will provide an unusual and interesting opportunity to consider how practitioners beyond Europe and America are working with photography. In another departure, the 2010 edition of A Positive View will also include works by unknown photographers, all clients of the homelessness charity Crisis who have been studying photography at the Crisis Skylight, education, training and employment centres in London and Newcastle.

Nadim Samman, Exhibition Curator, commented: “As A Positive View benefits people on the margins of society, this exhibition brings together images of a notional ‘centre’ – social icons, home, the West – with peripheral visions. In some cases the display suggests their unsettling interdependence. At the same time, as with previous editions, A Positive View continues to showcase the achievements of leading photographers past and present.”

Each of the works donated by the photographers, or their representatives and estates, have been included in the exhibition following a stringent selection process by A Positive View Patrons, who include Philippe Garner, International Head of Photographs at Christie’s, and Tim Jefferies, Director of Hamilton’s Gallery, with exhibition curator Nadim Samman.

Patron Philippe Garner said: “This exhibition is truly international in scope and represents the contemporary vitality and authority of the photographic medium across many genres. I have spent forty years as a champion of photography and I find it very rewarding to be part of such a stimulating project – one that invites us to celebrate the medium for so very worthwhile a cause.”

A 200-page fully-illustrated coffee-table book will be published in March, and will be available from Somerset House, Christie’s internationally, specialist art bookshops and online (£25, March 2010).

A Positive View opens on 10 March and continues until 5 April, with the charity auction of 100 of the most collectible works being held at Christie’s London on 15 April 2010 with 100% of the sales proceeds going to Crisis. For further information please visit www.apositiveview.com.

Image credits

Kate (c) Corinne Day (1990)
Wyoming, Steam-Train Press, (c) Elliott Erwitt,(1954)
Lounge Painting, Gila Bend, Arizona, (c)Wim Wenders, (1983)
Queen Charlotte’s London, (c) Henri Cartier-Bresson,(1959)

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