Indepth Arts News: |
"Camera Over Hollywood: Photographs by John Swope, 1936-1938"
2000-09-02 until 2000-10-28
Presentation House Gallery
North Vancouver, BC,
Sixty-three vintage photographs by John Swope (1908 – 1979) will tell an unfamiliar story of Hollywood. Using a Leica
and his insider advantage as a close friend and confident of Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart, John Swope documented
Hollywood not as an idealized landscape but as a working town full of struggle, hope and success – as a town which was
in the very real business of creating the unreal elsewhere. Like Robert Frank's classic view of the disquiet beneath the
American post-war prosperity in The Americans, Swope shows us Hollywood’s underbelly.
John Swope began his career in film and theatre in the early 1930s when, as a student at Harvard University, he joined
the University Players theatrical group, which included Henry Fonda, Josh Logan and Jimmy Stewart. In 1936, while
working as production assistant to Leland Hayward, he took up photography and began to document life
behind-the-scenes at the Hollywood studios. Heralded as a masterwork of behind-the-scenes documentary, Camera
Over Hollywood was first published by Random House in 1939.
Funding for the exhibition tour has been graciously provided by the Gerald and Virginia Oppenheimer Trust. All images
are courtesy of the John Swope Trust. The exhibition is curated by Graham Howe and organized and circulated by
Curratorial Assistance, Los Angeles.