Leica Gallery Los Angeles is proud to present Mathieu Bitton’s “Darker Than Blue,” an exhibition exploring the realities of daily life in African-American and black communities throughout the world, including images from Bitton’s expressive Hand Portraits. This is the first U.S. Leica exhibition for Bitton, who has received multiple music industry awards, including a Grammy nomination, for his creative photographs and packaging for album covers and box sets.
Bitton shot the photographs almost exclusively with his Leica Monochrom Typ 246, looking to capture natural-feeling, unguarded snapshots. “My objective was to show the highest beauty in these very real, everyday moments,” Bitton explains. This contrast is central to Bitton’s Hand Portraits, in which he focuses on his subjects’ hands and shoes to represent their uniqueness. One snapshot from this series shows Quincy Jones wearing Frank Sinatra’s pinky ring – bearing the Sinatra family crest – which Sinatra wore for 40 years before leaving it to Jones. Additional subjects include Herbie Hancock and Melvin Van Peebles. As Bitton notes, “Hands really tell so much about a person. I believe more than their faces do a lot of the time. The way a person moves their hands when they talk, for example; the wrinkles and calluses tell so much about one’s life and achievements, work ethics and labor history.”
In addition to the Hand Portraits, Bitton’s “Darker Than Blue” exhibit depicts people going about their daily routines in New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco, The Bahamas, and Memphis. The show as a whole is representative of Bitton’s “always-on” photography style, resulting in high-contrast, high-grain images that call to mind photography from the Civil Rights Era, while also serving as their own contribution to the pantheon of art about the black community. “I don’t leave the house without my Monochrom,” says Bitton.
The title of the exhibition, like the style of the photographs, is meant to echo recent black history. “‘Darker Than Blue’ references a 1970 Curtis Mayfield lyric from the Civil Rights-themed, ‘We People Who Are Darker Than Blue.’ “I've always loved its depth and symbolism and have sought to reflect that paradox of hope and struggle in these images,” says Bitton.
Bitton has an extensive history working with musicians, including packaging and album cover design for renowned artists such as Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, and James Brown. Now, he is excited to bring his eye to additional areas of focus. “There is such an incredible balance in my life between music and photography. Simultaneous pleasure for the eyes and ears.”
“Darker Than Blue” will be showing from September 7 until October 17, 2016 at the Leica Gallery Los Angeles. Complimentary valet parking is available Monday through Friday in the parking lot to the right of the store.
For more information, visit www.leicagalleryla.com.
Enter here to win 1 of 5 commemorative 18" x 24" autographed posters by Mathieu Bitton in celebration of "Darker Than Blue".
Winners will be announced on September 7 on Leica's Instagram account: @LeicaCameraUSA.
Open to US Residents only.
Mathieu Bitton - Leica Gallery LA Presents "Darker Than Blue"
- 09/07/2016 - 10/17/2016
Leica Gallery Los Angeles
8783 Beverly Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
Tuesday- Saturday 10am- 6pm
Sunday & Monday by appointment only
Complementary valet parking is available Monday through Friday in the parking lot to the right of the store.