Now on view
"A Fashionable Mind: Photographs by Jonathan Becker" showcased Becker's significant contributions to contemporary photography and featured more than 60 photographs of his most captivating and diverse subjects in the upper echelons of fashion, entertainment, style, high society and art, as well as from unique subcultures such as the Yanomami tribe of the Amazon jungle. Throughout his career, Becker has collaborated to great acclaim with writers and artists including Vanity Fair's founding design director Bea Feitler and photographer Slim Aarons. His mentor was the great Hungarian artist Brassaï, from whom he had the good fortune to learn about the geography of the human spirit through portraiture. Brassaï encouraged Becker to show the light of the soul, an essence only achieved through intense observation of human character.
The exhibition was originally presented at the SCAD Museum of Art and will include a selection of new photographs for SCAD FASH. "A Fashionable Mind" is Becker's first museum retrospective in more than 30 years.
SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace and Jonathan Becker take a behind-the-scenes look of Becker's retrospective, "A Fashionable Mind: Photographs by Jonathan Becker." As a portraitist and documentarian, Becker has traversed the globe in search of his most captivating and diverse subjects, including the upper echelons of fashion, entertainment, style, high society and art, as well as unique subcultures such as the Yanomami tribe of the Amazon jungle. Featuring more than 60 photographs, "A Fashionable Mind" showcased Becker's significant contributions to contemporary photography.
Jonathan Becker grew up in New York and lived in Paris in the 1970s. A protégé of iconic photographer Brassaï while in France, he began his career as a portraitist at Interview magazine. As New York exhibitions of Becker's work garnered critical acclaim and visibility, he expanded his work as a documentarian in the 1980s with Slim Aarons and Frank Zachary at Town & Country magazine. Becker began contributing to Vanity Fair under the tutelage of its founding design director Bea Feitler. His portraits of filmmaker Louis Malle and of Becker's mentor and friend Brassaï featured largely in the pages of the prototype for the magazine's relaunch in 1982. Becker's specialty in portraits, photographed by and large on location, soon became a Vanity Fair staple: Robert Mapplethorpe, Jack Kevorkian, Jocelyn Wildenstein and Martha Graham, as well as countless socialites, artists and heads of state. Assignments have dispatched Becker far and wide — from the Amazon rain forest for first-encounter photographs of members of the Yanomami tribe to Buckingham Palace for the first photographs showing the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles together.
Becker is also known for his close collaboration with Bob Colacello, Alex Shoumatoff and other Vanity Fair writers on stories about the denizens of worldly watering holes, the Adirondacks and Aspen, Palm Beach and Palm Springs, Capri and others. Over the course of three years' work for The Rockefeller Foundation, Becker documented its funded projects on five continents. Four books of his work have been published: "Bright Young Things," "Studios by the Sea, Artists of Long Island's East End," "Bright Young Things: London" and "Jonathan Becker: 30 Years at Vanity Fair."
Activities in the curriculum guide give students additional context with which to analyze Jonathan Becker's images and investigate his methods, including how to plan and create one's own portrait. The guide also includes a comprehensive overview of Becker's journalistic photography and portrait work and explores how angle, depth of field, lighting and framing can be used to create a sense of narrative in portraiture and photography.