Melvin Sokolsky, Rolling, 1963

FEBRUARY 17 – MARCH 16, 2024

JL Modern Gallery is currently hosting a temporary exhibition of Sokolsky’s work. This is a rare opportunity to experience the groundbreaking artistry of one of fashion photography’s true innovators firsthand. The exhibition offers a deep dive into Sokolsky’s creative world, featuring iconic pieces from his illustrious career. For lovers of photography and art alike, this exhibition is not to be missed.

In the inventive world of fashion photography, few have managed to blend reality with the surreal quite like Melvin Sokolsky. Born in the heart of New York City in 1933, Sokolsky’s journey into the world of photography was as unconventional as his later works. With no formal training, he honed his skills through experimentation and guidance from seasoned advertising photographers. His early fascination with Hieronymus Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights” set the stage for a career marked by imaginative brilliance.

Sokolsky emerged as a photographic maestro in a golden era spanning from the 1950s to the 1970s. It was a time when American magazines reigned supreme in the advertisement industry, and photographers were the new rock stars of contemporary art. Publications like Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and The New York Times became canvases for Sokolsky’s innovative visions.

His disdain for the rigid division between editorial and advertising photography led him to always aim for the “full shot,” blurring the lines between commercial work and pure artistic expression, This approach was not just revolutionary but also reflective of Sokolsky’s belief in the potential of photography as a form of fine art.

One of Sokolsky’s most stunning achievements was the Bubble series, where he captured the model Simone D’Aillencourt floating down the Seine in a transparent sphere. This series was not only a technical marvel for its time but also a poetic expression of beauty and grace. Sokolsky’s ability to create such elegant illusions without the aid of digital technologies speaks volumes about his mastery and foresight.

Through his lens, Sokolsky transformed models into ethereal beings, floating in bubbles or shrunken to miniature scales. These dream-like scenarios were beyond fashion photography; they were a window into a world in which fantasy and reality find a harmonious balance.

In an era where digital manipulation does not exist, Sokolsky’s photographs remind us that the magic of photography lay in the eye, the mind, and the heart of the photographer. As we look back at his creations, they continue to inspire awe and wonder, much like the spherical bubble floating over exotic lands in Sokolsky’s youthful dreams.