Gjon Mili - Picasso Drawing with Light
Gjon Mili
Picasso Drawing with Light
Vintage Silver Gelatin Photograph
1949
13 3/8 x 10 5/8 inches

Photographer's stamp on print verso.

Gjon Mili - Pablo Picasso "Draws" a Centaur in the Air with Light
Gjon Mili
Pablo Picasso "Draws" a Centaur in the Air with Light
Silver Gelatin Photograph
1949, Printed Later
14 x 11 inches

Signed in ink on verso.

Gjon Mili - Sammy Davis, Jr. as Sportin' Life in Porgy and Bess
Gjon Mili
Sammy Davis, Jr. as Sportin' Life in "Porgy and Bess"
Silver Gelatin Photograph
1958
10 x 8 inches

Gjon Mili and The Richard Checani Collection stamp on print verso.

Gjon Mili - Martha Graham (Punch and Judy)
Gjon Mili
Martha Graham (Punch and Judy)
Vintage Silver Gelatin Photograph
1942
13 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches

Titled, photographers stamp, and collection stamp on print verso.

Gjon Mili - Mary Martin in "One Touch of Venus"
Gjon Mili
Mary Martin in "One Touch of Venus"
Vintage Silver Gelatin Photograph
1943
13 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches

Mounted; titled with photographers stamp and various notations in pencil on reverse of mount

Gjon Mili immigrated to the United States in 1923, and studied electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Upon graduation in 1927, he worked for Westinghouse as a lighting research engineer until 1938. Through experiments with Harold Edgerton at MIT he developed tungsten filament lights for color photography; further innovations in stroboscopic and stop-action images brought his work to the attention of Life. Mili worked freelance for the magazine from 1939 until his death, producing thousands of photographs--action shots of dance, sports, and theater events; portraits of artists, musicians, athletes, dancers, and actors. He made films about artists, among them Jamming the Blues, Eisenstaedt Photographs "The Tall Man," and Homage to Picasso. Mili taught at Yale, Sarah Lawrence College, and Hunter College. Among his many exhibitions were Dancers in Movement and On Picasso with Robert Capa, both at the Museum of Modern Art. A retrospective of his work was held at ICP in 1980, the same year that the book, Gjon Mili: Photographs and Recollections, which spanned fifty years of his photographs, was published.

Mili was a pioneer in the portrayal of movement in photography. Not only did his engineering of photographic lighting tools and techniques in the 1930s change the possibilities for depicting movement, but his photographs themselves altered the public's general understanding of motion in general. Through the sheer number of his motion photographs and their frequent publication in Life magazine, Mili revealed the mechanics of human kinetics to postwar society. His dynamic fashion and advertising images demonstrated his ability to adapt his discoveries creatively without overwhelming the image in photographic pyrotechnics.

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