Albert Watson is the artist that has captured the essence of the greatest history makers and shapers, from Steve Jobs’ minimal and über confident self portrait, to the bizarre and simultaneously funny Alfred Hitchcock holding a goose with a bow on her neck.
Though blind in one eye since birth, Watson says that the weapon of photographing people; no matter of their status, is your own personality, as long as the person being photographed realises it, magic will happen.
We went to the highly anticipated ‘ROIDS! Vernissage taking place at the Christophe Guye Galerie, behind the opera house on the west coast of Zurich. Once you entered the gallery space you could feel Watson’s aura in the room, everyone looking at him, either directly or glancing at him from the side of their eyes. He calmly engaged in friendly small talks with the countless admirers, having his wife, Elizabeth Watson on his side.
I nervously approached him, congratulating him on the exhibition and his greatly admired work, he was very friendly and happily engaged in conversation with yet another stranger, me. As we started talking, I asked him about the guidance he gives to the subject he is photographing and the conversation lead to Steve Jobs’ confident and calculated hand placement. Watson had noticed Jobs great confidence in his eyes and suggested to reenact the Rolling Stones cover shoot Jobs had done some years ago. That picture captured the way we now remember Jobs.
Keen on both analogue and digital photography, he is even now working with both media. His enormous photographs at the Christophe Guye Galerie are blown up polaroids, one blown up photograph could easily covers hundreds of small polaroids. Still friendly and enthusiastic, he explained his methodology, spoke about polaroid sizes, the sharpness and blurriness of some exhibited pictures and he reassured us that the scratches on the works are not intended, they just occurred when the tiny pictures were enlarged and now are part of the work’s body, just like a beauty mark.
What did I take with me that night? I took a warm smile that accompanied me all the way home, even now writing about it, it returns on my lips. Not only meeting the legendary photographer was a great experience, but seeing how nice he was provides me with hope in a world where ‘creators’ can easily lose touch with the world…
Christophe Guye Galerie
10th of September – 24th of October 2015
Illustration and text by Dimitria Markou