06
Dec
13

Exhibition: ‘Detroit 1968: Photographs by Enrico Natali’ at Joseph Bellows Gallery, La Jolla, CA – Part 1

Exhibition dates: 2nd November – 21st December 2013

 

Enrico Natali. 'Spectators at a public demonstration, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Spectators at a public demonstration, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

 

It takes about five or six photographs. Then, in a light bulb moment, you realise what the artist is doing and how good these images really are.

They stink of humanity!

They are good because the humanity is not something that the photographer has been able to whip around to serve his photography. In fact, because of the milieu in which they were made, he might not have even been aware of it as an outstanding feature. But after looking at contemporary photography, Natali serves up something that is now missing in aces. As a full house in fact.

The strength of these photographs lies in their directness, intimacy and immediacy. The 35mm format adds to latter quality, as does the photographers ability to get his subjects to engage with the process of having their photograph taken. In different contexts, Natali seems to have a wonderful rapport with all sorts of people, whether it be office workers, people at home, students at school or men sitting under hair dryers. The look of the woman with sunglasses fourth in line in the photograph Women’s Convention, Detroit, 1968 (1968, below) is priceless.

Natali never defines his point of departure and just moves around it but in his case it doesn’t matter, for the “humanity” present in his work is obvious. Admittedly, there are elements that Natali borrows from people such as Robert Frank and Diane Arbus. And a photographer such as Lee Friedlander for example, by his intellect / aesthetic, tops the attribute of humanity under a layer of quality and a veneer of fame. But this work has a wonderful presence and substance, a respect for human beings and their worlds and real guts to the work. You can absolutely feel his love for the medium, the craft of photography, and the capturing of these self-contained moments.

Today – all too often (as in most of the photography in the Melbourne Now exhibition) – we have a top layer of aesthetic / intellect etc… but there is rarely anything under it. And that my friends, gives me the shits.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to Joseph Bellows Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Enrico Natali. 'Incident at Bell Isle Park, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Incident at Bell Isle Park, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Businessmen at a squash match, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Businessmen at a squash match, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Woman at a gym, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Woman at a gym, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Husband and wife at home with their youngest child, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Husband and wife at home with their youngest child, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Office workers, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Office workers, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Woman in her kitchen with rollers in her hair, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Woman in her kitchen with rollers in her hair, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Students at school, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Students at school, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Waitress in an empty restaurant, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Waitress in an empty restaurant, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'High school basketball, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
High school basketball, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Formal cocktail party, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Formal cocktail party, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Programmer with computer, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Programmer with computer, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Women's gymnastics class, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Women’s gymnastics class, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Couple picnicking, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Couple picnicking, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Beauty salon client with a new haircut, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Beauty salon client with a new haircut, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Men under hairdryers, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Men under hairdryers, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Shoe repair shop owner, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Shoe repair shop owner, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Women waiting at a bus stop in the rain, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Women waiting at a bus stop in the rain, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Women's Convention, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Women’s Convention, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

 

As the fall of Detroit began, as her middle class American Dreamers began moving to greener pastures, and while the Motor City’s status as one of the shining stars of the industrial revolution began to fade, Detroit became a locus for the racial conflict and political upheaval that swept the country during the late 1960s. Throughout this pivotal moment, Enrico Natali was present, empathically documenting Detroit, her people and their environments, and their lives and conditions in his compelling photographs.

Forty-one years later, Natali’s photographs of Detroit still resonate with hope and emotion, and indeed, have taken on an added pathos. These pictures capture the relative calm before the storm: people attending art exhibitions, sporting events, a high school prom; families posing together for portraits; secretaries smoking their afternoon cigarettes; children, parents and grandparents, workers of every stripe – machinists, waitresses, beauticians – plying their trades with what might be described in retrospect as innocence. The spirits of these nameless faces, young and old, are the ghosts that haunt what is now – very literally – this bankrupt metropolis.

Enrico Natali was born in 1933, in Utica, New York. During the 1960s he lived and photographed in various American cities, including New York, New Orleans, Chicago, and Detroit. At the end of that decade he ceased work as a photographer and began a meditation practice that became his primary focus, as he built a home and raised his family in California’s Los Padres National Forest. In 1990 Natali and his wife Nadia founded the Blue Heron Center for Integral Studies, a Zen meditation center in Ojai, California. A handsome, timely and poignant publication, Detroit 1968, published by Foggy Notion Books, including an essay by Mark Binelli, author of the critically acclaimed Detroit City is the Place to Be (2012, Metropolitan Books), accompanies the exhibition.

Press release from the Joseph Bellows Gallery website

 

Enrico Natali. 'Young woman on a street, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Young woman on a street, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Warehouse foreman, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Warehouse foreman, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Community organizer, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Community organiser, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Opening night at the Detroit Opera, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Opening night at the Detroit Opera, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Hair stylist smoking, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Hair stylist smoking, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Boy in a backyard, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Boy in a backyard, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Young men at a debutante ball, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Young men at a debutante ball, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Ana Kuzick at home in high chair, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Ana Kuzick at home in high chair, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Businessman at a press party, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Businessman at a press party, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Margaret Carpenter at home, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Margaret Carpenter at home, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'William Day, president of Michigan Bell Telephone Company, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
William Day, president of Michigan Bell Telephone Company, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Bolt and nut sorters, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Bolt and nut sorters, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Executive secretary, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Executive secretary, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Go-Go dancer, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Go-Go dancer, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Warehouse worker, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Warehouse worker, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Trucking company executive, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Trucking company executive, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Sales meeting in an auditorium, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Sales meeting in an auditorium, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

Enrico Natali. 'Elevator operator, Detroit, 1968' 1968

 

Enrico Natali (American, b. 1933)
Elevator operator, Detroit, 1968
1968
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Joseph Bellows Gallery
7661 Girard Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: (858) 456-5620

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday, 10am-5pm, and Saturday by appointment

Joseph Bellows Gallery website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Orphans and small groups’ 1994-96 Part 2

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