Angels – Street. Skate. Seventies.
20 June to 29 July 2007
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Crane Kalman Brighton is proud to announce the first UK exhibition of photographer Hugh Holland's iconic Angels series. After recent first showings in Los Angeles and New York, the exhibition, entitled Angels. Street. Skate. Seventies will open at Crane Kalman Brighton on 21st June to coincide with National Go Skateboarding Day.
These seminal images document the classic era of the early skateboard scene in California in the early 1970's, with many of the images featuring the now legendary names of the sport, such as Jay Adams and Stacy Peralta. Holland began documenting the burgeoning phenomenon in 1975 after becoming instantly captivated through a chance encounter with a group of skateboarding kids whilst driving up Laurel Canyon Boulevard.
Fervent enthusiasm for the energy of the counterculture quickly certified Holland's acceptance within the community. Every spare moment was spent capturing the everyday social interactions of groups, such as the notorious Z-boys from Santa Monica and Venice and the skaters of Kenter Canyon, Paul Revere and Brentwood.
Holland successfully captures the exhilaration and rebellion felt during the birth of the scene. The summer drought of 1976 especially illustrates the attitude, when the skate kids seized the opportunity to brake into and carve up the emptied California neighbourhood pools and street drainage bowls.
Holland, a self-taught artist had been experimenting with photography since the late 1960's but didn't discover this definitive subject until his move to Los Angeles from his native Oklahoma. His colour images are exceptional in their on going contemporary feel. Shot with a special colour film and often taken during late afternoon, everything is bathed by the soft illumination of the low-lying sun. Special attention is paid to line and form, transforming the snap shot images to appear like carefully composed film stills.
Angels. Street. Skate. Seventies is a unique testament to a generation of young men and a previously unforeseen insight into the naissance of the skateboarding phenomenon before its commercial explosion.
Born: Oklahoma, 1942
Education: B.A. University of Oklahoma, 1964
In 1975, when Hugh Holland first began photographing the skateboarders in southern California, he had already been living in Los Angeles for nine years. His interest in photography had developed in the mid-sixties as a 20-year-old living in his native state of Oklahoma. Except for a college job working in a photo lab, Holland had no formal art education. He spent years training his eye by shooting photographs and working with the images.
It wasn't until after returning from a trip to Spain in 1968 and settling into what would become a career in West Hollywood as an antique finisher, that he began to seriously pursue photography. He made a dark room and began shooting everything that came into sight, especially people.
In 1975, driving up Laurel Canyon Boulevard one afternoon, Holland encountered his first skateboarders carving up the drainage ditches along the side of the canyon, he knew he had found his subject. Although not a skateboarder himself, Holland for the next three years never tired of capturing on film the burgeoning culture he was witnessing. However, by 1978, the scene had become more commercial, and Holland's documentation of the skateboarders came to its natural end.
Hugh Holland's Angels series was first shown in Los Angeles in early 2006. Following the success of the show, the work was shown in Paris and will be exhibited at Bonni Benrubi Gallery in New York City in the early fall. Additionally, American Apparel has used Holland's skateboarding photographs for their publicity campaign and a new monograph of the artist's work is currently being published by Grey Bull Press. It is due out in Summer 2007. Hugh Holland currently resides in San Francisco and continues to photograph.
Angels. Street. Skate. Seventies by Hugh Holland runs at Crane Kalman Brighton from 21st June to 29th July. For any further information or imagery, please contact Richard Kalman on 01273 697096 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Download press release
Download Hugh Holland biography