Acclaimed US photographer Larry Fink dies aged 82

29 November 2023, 09:34

Larry Fink image
Obit Larry Fink. Picture: PA

He was best known for his 1979 exhibition Social Graces, which juxtaposed shots of wealthy New Yorkers with those of everyday people in Pennsylvania.

Acclaimed photographer Larry Fink, whose work ranged from family portraits and political satire to insights into working class lives and the showbusiness elite, has died aged 82.

Gallery owner Robert Mann told The Associated Press that Fink died on Saturday at his home in Martins Creek, Pennsylvania.

Mr Mann did not cite a specific cause of death, but said that Fink had been in failing health.

Larry Fink photo
Oslin’s Graduation Party , Martins Creek, Pennsylvania, dated June 1977 (Larry Fink/Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery via AP)

He said of Fink: “He was a dear friend and a real free spirit.

“I’ve known people like Robert Frank and Ansel Adams and Larry stood out. He was an exceptional and unique individual, a very unconventional man, not only in his personality, but in his photography.”

A “self-described Marxist from Long Island,” Fink was best known for Social Graces, a 1979 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in which black and white photos of wealthy New Yorkers were juxtaposed against shots of everyday life of families in Martins Creek, Fink’s home town. The series was published in book form in 1984.

Larry Fink and his daughter
The photographer in a self-portrait with his daughter, Molly, from 1983 (Larry Fink/Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery via AP)

He would go on to work for The New York, Times, Vanity Fair and other publications, photographing such celebrities as Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman and Kate Winslet.

He would also spoof President George W Bush and other political leaders, while remaining close to a Martin Creeks family, the Sabatines, who appeared often in his work.

Fink had solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art among other galleries, and he received numerous honours, including two John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships.

Larry Fink image
English Speaking Union, New York, New York, from December 1975 (Larry Fink/Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery via AP)

He first took up photography at 13 and later studied under photographer Lisette Model, and had a professional life that reflected the diverse outlooks of his parents.

He grew up in a politicised family that scorned the free market, while also enjoying stylish automobiles and high-end parties.

In the early 1960s, Fink moved to Greenwich Village in New York City, with dreams that he was undertaking not just a career, but a revolution.

Larry Fink image
George Plimpton and Devotees, Elaine’s New York, from January 1999 (Larry Fink/Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery via AP)

“Of course the revolution didn’t quite get there, so I was left with a career,” he told Blind Magazine in 2021.

Fink is survived by his second wife, the artist Martha Posner, and a daughter, Molly, from his marriage to painter Joan Snyder.

By Press Association

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