Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Storyteller Is Seen With New Eyes


Grey Villet:"Slo-Pokes", Drag Racing In Moline, Illinois, 1957



Via The Wall Street Journal


"(Grey)  "Villet really fits into that ICP/Cornell Capa tradition—not only with photojournalism but this real interest in ordinary people and their lives."
 --Erin Barnett, International Center of Photography


"My sense of his power as a photographer was very great, and I was beginning to lose all hope that I was going to get this beautiful work out there."
--Barbara Villet, Grey's widow

"Villet shot for LIFE in both its weekly and reinvented monthly iterations between 1955 and 1985, producing some 40 full-length features of remarkable emotional and intellectual range—from a 1962 visit inside Synanon House, a controversial drug-treatment facility in California, to "The Lash of Success," an allegorical look at a Chicago furniture-chain owner whose abuse of power ultimately destroyed what he'd built. His mid-'70s essay about a hospital nurse, "More Than Compassion," like W. Eugene Smith's "Country Doctor," is a striking examination of life and death. Yet Smith's 1948 essay is legendary, and Villet's is hardly known."

"Grey was able to tell a story about something people necessarily hadn't gotten their minds around," said David Friend, who worked with Villet at LIFE as a reporter and picture editor. "It's not necessarily about [Henri] Cartier-Bresson's 'decisive moment'; it's about the collision or dovetailing of images that add up to a greater whole."

Among his own kind," Mr. Friend said of his former colleague, "he was revered."

"His work is every bit as important as those who were so well known," said Sidney Monroe, whose Santa Fe-based gallery represents Villet's estate."

Full article here.
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Wall Street Journal slide show
(No subscription required to view)

Wall Street Journal Interactive: Watching and Listening: The Work of Photojournalist Grey Villet
View Grey Villet's photographs during the AIPAD Photography Show March 28 - April 1 at Monroe Gallery of Photography Booth #419.