This Saturday night, Known Gallery in Hollywood, CA presents photography exhibits by Michael Miller & Ernest Holzman.
Michael Miller West Coast Hip Hop | A History in Pictures
Michael Miller is a simple man with an extraordinary life in photography. Over the past 25 years, he has built an expansive portfolio that includes over 300 major record covers, the most iconic supermodels of the ‘90s and some of the biggest names in rap and jazz. Miller was born and raised in Los Angeles and recalls the only radio station that came in clear where he lived during his teenage years was AM 1580 KDAY. As a Santa Monica High School student in the midst of the punk, surf and skate scene, he was listening to RUN DMC, Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick. Miller graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Film and Television and after college, he took a trip with friends to explore Paris where he met then boxer turned top agent Rene Bosne, who in time became Miller’s roommate in Paris and introduced Miller to his first camera. Miller began landing jobs shooting models for John Casablanca and later relocated to Barcelona, Spain where he began to build an impressive portfolio shooting for major campaigns such as Cacharel Paris. Influenced by the techniques of Peter Lindberg, Paulo Roversi and Javier Vallhonrat, Miller developed a method of cross processing film and different chemical baths for black and white photographs. He was on to something that was still undiscovered in the United States, sharing his method with fellow photographers such as Anton Corbijn. Homesick, Miller returned to his Los Angeles stomping grounds in 1988 and was immediately picked up by Herb Ritts’ agency Visages, shooting three advertisements for Vogue in the first month. His recognition for technique and style in fashion photography gained him attention in the music industry. By the end of 1988, he had photographed his first rapper, Arabian Prince. Impressed with his major campaign for Stussy, DJ Muggs (7A3, Cypress Hill) asked Miller to photograph the demo for a new project titled Cypress Hill that led Miller to becoming a heavily sought after photographer for the hip-hop community. Miller continues shooting for advertisment campaigns, major publications, celebrities and musicians. He currently resides with his wife and two daughters in Los Angeles. His inaugural show, West Coast Hip Hop, A History in Pictures, will display 43 photos, majority of which have never been shown to the public.
When Ernest Holzman (b. 1951, Mexico City) was fifteen years old, he was given his first camera; a Leica M4 with a 50 mm lens. Originally a gift for his father from a colleague at the German Embassy, his father knew his son would put the camera to better use. Bored with high school, Holzman soon found himself walking the streets of New York, never searching for anything in particular to photograph, but always with the camera by his side. A novice in his newfound hobby, Holzman persuaded a man he met who worked for the Black Star Agency into giving him a few freelance assignments, which lead to being published anonymously in several obscure trade publications.
As a young and ambitious photographer, Holzman would knock on doors and convince people to let him shoot in places not open to the public. One night, after a run in with the authorities, Holzman spent the night in jail. After his release, he returned the following day and asked the jailer for permission to photograph the intriguing inmates he had befriended. The jailer agreed, with the condition that Holzman maintain their anonymity and only shoot their silhouettes, as seen in the photograph titled SOLITAIRE.
An inspired Holzman traveled to bizarre places, lugging around his not so compact 5×7 and 4×5 cameras and a portable darkroom in the back of his car. This was just the beginning of what became a career in photography that has spanned nearly three decades.
Under Over is an intimate collection of fourteen photographs taken between 1966-1972, primarily in cities east of the Mississippi. This will be Holzman’s first gallery exhibition of these vintage photographs.
PLANET ROCK// How crack first destroyed urban America and then historically inspired hip hop artists, street culture and a nation to move on. Can’t believe it actually came and went, to quote Biggie, “slingin’ crack rock” was something you saw everyday when you lived in the city. It is amazing how many rappers came of age during this era, right about 1982-88 or so. It all coincided with the drug wars in Miami, Tony Montana and good old fashion Reagonomics.
With the current recession and “unemployment at a record high” (RUN DMC) you realize what inspired all those snazzy one liners from the songs we know. Wonder if the young guns out there now are writing as powerful lyrics.
Tragedy and drama aside, it was stylistically and historically the beginning of the hip hop and streetwear era. Back in the day pagers were the bomb, now you know why.
Doing some research for a tattoo and wanted a really garish gold rope chain, so I went back to old skool SLick Rick and Erik B styles. They still rock it. Somehow it’s just cooler and more endearing than Pharrell and Puffy’s platinum. Probably purchased from a custom jeweler on Canal Street. (Yes, I have the door knocker earrings as well)
The music will probably age better too. You just can’t beat Paid in Full.
Jose Parla: Off the Wall
New York-based artist José Parlá got his start writing graffiti in Miami, but it was his dedication to transplanting the street to the gallery that won him acclaim in the art world. “Society mostly categorized [graffiti] art as vandalism, so my struggle as an artist was to show its beauty to those who could not see it,” he says, noting that, historically, the feedback wasn’t entirely positive: “The more people told me it was trash, the more I wanted to do it.” For his new show Walls, Diaries and Paintings at New York’s Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, the artist embarked on a global treasure hunt, collecting fliers and posters from Istanbul, Havana, Tokyo, Shanghai and New York. Parlá drew inspiration from urban walls in each of the cities, reproducing them in his richly textured works, which layer the found materials with oil paint, saw dust, spray enamel and dirt, all punctuated by tag-styled signatures. Filmmaker Matt Black, who has known the artist for over a decade, discussed the personal history that informs Parlá’s methods for today’s short, the second episode in Black’s series, Reflections. Hatje Cantz will publish a monograph of the artist’s latest works in conjunction with the exhibition.