One of the great pleasures of curating the Fives Decades of Self Portrait show at Wednesbury Art Gallery for the Blast Photo Festival was being able to show two American visitors around the exhibition. The main focus of the show is on David Attie’s Russian and American Self Portraits taken in 1976-1979 so it was wonderful that his son Eli was able to visit. Eli was my first point of contact with the Attie family in 2012 and I have visited New York tree times in the intervening years to research David’s archive and in January this year to select the images for the show.
Since 2012, when little was available on the internet about David, Eli has been spreading the word about his father’s work which is much more than the Russian Self Portrait set. Now there are images and information on his pre-Photoshop collage and sandwich negative work as well as the images he took of celebrities and the shoots he did including the wonderful set of Brooklyn in 1958 to go with a Truman Capote essay.
David was brought up in Bensonhurst across the river from Manhattan but Eli and is brother Oliver were brought up on the East Side of Manhattan. Eli is now based in Los Angeles and works as a television writer. So it was doubly rewarding that I kind of completed the circle back to New York on the day after Eli visited the show. This time it was Andy Lin making the journey and he is a New York based photographer who runs The Self Portrait Project.
I’d connected with him on the internet but had not met him before. It was great to discuss self portrait approaches and techniques and to find out how he had got to doing Self Portrait work – he hadn’t known about David’s work until I linked him up with it. And it was also great to see visitors from nearer last week – Garry Corbett, John Hodgett and Emma Jo Tucker.
The show is on until 29th June but only open Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday each week. Check it the Blast! website
Andy Lin is pictured below and you can see his work at The Self Portrait Project website