Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Jill Krementz covers Editta Sherman's 100th

Editta Sherman Camera Studies 1940-1990
In Celebration of Her 100th Year
An Exhibit of Celebrity Portraits

July 10-29th, 2012

25 CPW Gallery, 25 Central Park West
Hours: 1 PM-7:30 PM

One of the best photo exhibitions in Manhattan is currently on display at the 25 CPW Gallery on the Upper West Side at 62nd Street. On view: 75 camera studies by Editta Sherman.

Editta Sherman in her Carnegie Hall Studio, 2009. Photograph © Ellen Wallenstein.
The opening night, July 9th, was a celebration of Ms. Sherman's 100th birthday and the gallery was packed with her family and friends.

The show was organized by photographer Josef Astor, who has directed Lost Bohemia, a documentary currently making the rounds of the film festivals. The film features Sherman, along with other artistic tenants who once rented affordable studio apartments atop Carnegie Hall. Astor himself was a tenant, as were Marlon Brando, Paddy Chayefsky, Isadora Duncan and New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham. When the landlord, Carnegie Hall Corporation, served everyone with eviction notices, Astor chronicled the protracted battle.

Editta Sherman learned her craft from her father, Nunzio Rinaldo, who was a wedding photographer with whom she apprenticed. Editta later refined her skills for portraiture with her husband Harold, a sound engineer and business partner.  When the couple  opened their studio the enterprise was underwritten by Leopold Mannes, the co-inventor of Kodachrome.
Editta Sherman is in the center flanked by four of her children. From left to right: Bradley, 72, Melisande, 69, Kenneth, 75, and Lloyd, 74. They all have the same last name: Sherman.

Editta told me: "100 is enough. I don't want to have any more wrinkles."
Carl Sandburg was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He was the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and another for his biography of Abraham Lincoln.
William F. Buckley. Henry Fonda.
Dimitri Mitropolous, Conductor. Painter LeRoy Neiman, who died on June 20, 2012.
Cornelia Otis Skinner was an American author (Our Hearts Were Young and Gay) and actress. Actress Juanita Hall, who was in South Pacific.
Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn. Actress Mary Martin.
Maurice Chevalier. Actor Rudy Vallée.
Leonard Bernstein. Noel Coward.
Actress Lillian Gish. Actor/mimeist Marcel Marceau.
Miles Chapin, whose parents are the late Betty and Schuyler Chapin. Betty Chapin was part of the Steinway family, as in piano. Schuyler was the General Manager of the Met.
A wall of memorabilia. Poster of Lost Bohemia, a documentary which is just now making the rounds of the festivals but has not yet been released.
Newspaper clippings about Editta.
A selection of book jackets with Editta's photographs on the covers.
Josef Astor is a photographer whose work regularly appears in Vanity Fair, the New York Times, and the New Yorker. He's the director of Lost Bohemia, a film about the last residents of Carnegie Hall Studios (including Editta Sherman) and the fight to save the studios.
Art critic Larry Qualls and writer Will Schwalbe.

Schwabe has written my favorite new book, The End of Your Life Book Club, to be published in the fall by Knopf. Schwalbe wrote about his upcoming book for the New York Times this past Mother's Day. His essay, "Reading Together, Knowing the Ending," appeared in the opinion section of the Sunday paper.

Schwalbe is a very close friend of Josef Astor's and I went to the party as Will's guest. En route he told me he had just gotten a blurb for his book from Mitch Album, author of the best seller Tuesdays with Morrie. Trust me, Schwalbe's book is also headed to best sellerdom, too.
The new camera (i-Phone) and the old (8x10 Kodak camera) behind Editta. The 8x10 Kodak is the one used by Editta. On the table beside Editta's chair, a photograph of her late husband Harold, who died in 1954, and a bouquet of yellow roses.
Family photos including several of Editta with her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
A younger Editta. And her husband Harold.
Installation photo with Joe DiMaggio and Tyrone Power in the foreground.
Joe DiMaggio. Tyrone Power.
Actress Kim Hunter. Conductor Leopold Stokowski.
View of installation.
David Glackin, an art collector and tennis pro. Zarela Martinez is a New York City-based restaurateur and cookbook author who was born in the Mexican border town of Agua Prieta (Sonora State). Her restaurant Zarela, once the favorite hangout of aficionados of Mexican cuisine, recently closed.
Larry Qualls: "Editta's work captures a moment in the history of portrait photography, which is as much a signature as the styles of Karsh of Ottowa or of Nadar." Photographer Andrew Brucker. It was stifling inside with such a huge crowd, so from time to time people went out on the sidewalk to cool off.
David Amram on two flutes and Jerry Dodgion on alto sax.
Will Schwabe and Ellen Wallenstein. Ms. Wallenstein is an adjunct photography professor at the School of Visual Arts and a friend and colleague of Josef Astor's. "I'm currently working on a book of portraits Respecting My Elders, photographing people over 80 who have affected our culture. Editta will be the cover image."
Lloyd Sherman toasts his mother. The robust centenarian tells the crowd how it was photographer and building-mate Bill Cunningham who arranged for her work to get a wider audience.
Photographer Bill Cunningham tried to hide but also needed to commemorate the birthday of his protégé, a triumph of professionalism over modesty.
All I can say, is we should all look this good on our 100th.
Asked who was her favorite subject? Answer: "Carl Sandburg." She then went on to say that Tyrone Power made a pass at her but she turned him down.
A table laden with gifts and flowers for Editta from her celebrants.
I'm guessing that the "Say it with Flowers" logo has been around as long as Editta.
As you can see, almost every guest had a camera.
A view of the back of Editta's 8x10 Kodak camera.

"Remember it is not the camera, but the person behind the camera that makes the difference!"
— Editta Sherman

Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz: all rights reserved.
Contact Jill Krementz here.

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