"Leigh Bowery & other 'Butterflies” shows a summary of the work of British photographer Fergus Greer. It is the first time his pictures are shown at an exhibition in The Netherlands. The famous and colorful series of photographs of Leigh Bowery shows why the extravagant performance artist was a great inspiration for the fashion and art world. As a contrast Fergus Greer shows his latest series of photographs, 'Butterflies' and a selection of striking portraits of celebrities like Ray Charles, Damien Hirst and Yves Saint Laurent. The exhibition is from September 25 to November 6, 2010 in the photo gallery of Eduard Planting in Amsterdam.
Performance artist Leigh Bowery (1961-1994) was a favorite model of the painter Lucian Freud. And a great example of singer Boy George and fashion designers like Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. Fergus Greer and Leigh Bowery came from two completely different worlds, but right after they met in 1988 their cooperation went to the highest possible level. The portraits show Leigh Bowery in the most diverse, and almost unbearable self-made creations. With his unique style, he examines the boundaries of 'figure' and clothing, beautiful and ugly, man and woman. Registered by Fergus Greer between 1988 and 1994 in an inimitable way in 39 'Looks' during seven exhaustively sessions. Leigh Bowery hosted the first ‘Loveball’ in the famous RoXy nightclub in Amsterdam (1990) on behalf of the Dutch Aids foundation. The fifth Loveball in 1995 was dedicated to him, because he died the year before.
Butterflies The latest series of photographs by Fergus Greer is his impressive ‘Butterflies’ (2009-2010), emerged from a commission by a fine art photo collector. The subject of 'transformation' suited wonderfully in Fergus’ private situation of that time. This manifested itself in the often peculiar titles he gave the photos. He approached the portraits of butterflies in the same way as he makes portraits of people: "The subject is itself a work of art and their beauty is in themselves. Especially in the largest size (152 x 122 cm) the 'Butterflies' became extremely impressive photographs.
Portraits of celebrities
Fergus Greer has a great fondness for portraits of celebrities. Hence in 1997 he moved to Los Angeles. In America "glamour" dominates, while in Europe the style of photography is more focused on the "character" of the subject. Fergus adapted this way of working and became a frequently asked photographer. During the exhibition in Amsterdam portraits of Quentin Crisp, Janice Dickinson, Bill Gates, Dennis Hopper, Ozzy Osbourne, Robbie Williams, Prince William and Prince Harry, among others, can be seen.
Master of light
Fergus Greer is a master at "playing" with light. The way he interprets a subject, builds the image and leaves the person in its full value is characteristic of his style. He tries to show the essence of a person in one glance. His photos always are about the sitter, not the photographer. Yet in his own way: "I make them look pretty". Over the years, Fergus Greer photographed hundreds of celebrities.
Assistant to Richard Avedon
Fergus Greer was born in England and raised in Ireland. He studied at Saint Martins School of Art and Fashion in London and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He began his career as a photographer as an assistant to the American photographer Richard Avedon and the British photographer Terence Donovan (1989-1990). Simultaneously he worked as a freelance photographer. From 1997 Fergus Greer lived ten years in America. He currently lives and works mostly in London.
Thanks to his specialty, Fergus Greer has worked for many leading magazines, including Fortune, GQ, London Sunday Times Magazine, Newsweek, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and Vanity Fair. His personal work has been shown in galleries and museums in America, Europe and Australia. And has been included in many public and private collections. The National Portrait Gallery in London has 65 portraits by Fergus Greer in her collection.