Art Kane (1925 - 1995) was one of the most influential photographers of the twentieth century. A bold visionary, Kane’s work encompassed fashion, editorial, celebrity portraiture, travel, and nudes with a relentless and innovative eye. Like his contemporaries, Guy Bourdin (1928 - 1991) and Helmut Newton (1924 - 2004), Kane gravitated toward strong color, eroticism and surreal humor.
Thirty years before Photoshop and digital imaging, armed only with a light table and a loupe, Kane invented the ‘sandwich’ image; two, four, and more transparencies layered, inverted, reversed, book-matched, painstakingly aligned, and taped together at the edges. In perfecting this technique, Kane pioneered photographic storytelling by investing his images with metaphor and poetry, effectively turning photography into illustration.
In 1958, Kane assembled the greatest legends in jazz and shot what became one of his most famous images, Harlem 1958. In the 1960s and 1970s, he photographed, among others, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Janis Joplin, the Doors, Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan.
In his lifetime Kane was honored by almost every photo-design organization in the United States: American Society of Magazine Photographers, Photographer of the Year, Newspaper Guild of America, Page One Award, Augustus Saint-Gaudens Medal for Distinguished Achievement, Cooper-Union, New York Art Directors Club, (14) Medals and (28) Awards of Distinctive Merit. In 1984 Kane was given the American Society of Magazine Photographers Lifetime Achievement Award and awards from the AlGA, Society of Typographic Arts and Communication Arts Magazine and awards from Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago and Detroit art directors clubs.
Art Kane’s contributions to the medium of photography continue to resonate throughout the industry today. His work remains unmatched.