Jeanette Montgomery Barron: Scene
Andy Warhol from Scene by Jeanette Montgomery Barron
Jenny Holzer from Scene by Jeanette Montgomery Barron
Mike Starn & Doug Starn from Scene by Jeanette Montgomery Barron
Salomé from Scene by Jeanette Montgomery Barron
Kathryn Bigelow from Scene by Jeanette Montgomery Barron
Scene (cover) by Jeanette Montgomery Barron
A young Willem Dafoe sneers from the cover of Scene, bare-chested with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. It is a simple portrait that conveys the seething intensity that has made Dafoe one of the world’s leading actors. Photographer Jeannette Montgomery Barron says, “Despite looking like a tough guy, Willem is very sweet”.
Scene, published by powerHouse books, features Montgomery Barron’s black and white portraits, a project she began in 1981 when she was living in New York. Immersed in the art scene, and exposed to actors and artists, the young Montgomery Barron says her naivety gave her access to all sorts of people including Andy Warhol whom she telephoned to see if she could shoot his portrait. He gave her five minutes.
Warhol is one of a handful of internationally recognizable celebrities who sat for Montgomery Barron along with the sneering Dafoe and a young Kathryn Bigelow, who was the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director for The Hurt Locker (2010). Barbara Kruger, who coined the phrase “I shop therefore I am” is also featured, along with Slaves of New York author Tama Janowitz, artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, an elderly William S. Burroughs and fellow photographer Robert Maplethorpe. Of her encounter with Maplethorpe, Montgomery Barron says, “I was nervous about taking a portrait of Robert…(but) he was extremely sweet and hospitable; he offered me a glass of chocolate milk and a joint”. Maplethorpe died of AIDS not long after.
Montgomery Barron’s black and white portraits are visually captivating and the collection in Scene evokes an intimacy that makes the book feel like you are flicking through a private photo album. For those who are familiar with the New York arts scene in the 1980s the images will no doubt resonate. And for those who are not, the strength of the portraiture may light their imagination to discover more about the stories behind these faces.
Scene - Jeanette Montgomery Barron
160 pages Hard Cover
9 x 11 inches
Publisher powerHouse Books