Caroline Forbes Portraits of Musicians

14. May 2015 – 31. July 2015

Caroline Forbes was born in Singapore in 1952 and then spent much of her early childhood in Sweden. After taking an Honours Degree in English Literature at York University she immediately went on to study Photography at The London College of Printing. Her earliest professional experience included printing for Fay Godwin, whose high and exacting standards became engrained in her own working discipline. The first period of her professional life was largely taken up with portrait photography and literary events.

A strong relationship with the distinguished publisher Faber and Faber resulted in iconic portraits of Ted Hughes and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney. She continues to be the official photographer for the National Poetry Archive. In the interim her portraits have been widely used by publishers throughout the world and this continues to be one of the main strands of her work.
A closely related activity has been her work with musicians, both directly with musicians or for record companies and concert promoters. Her postcard series reproduced some of the many portraits and a list of the names will give an idea of the range and depth of her engagement: Iannis Xenakis, John Zorn, Ennio Morricone, Lee Konitz, Steve Lacy, Evan Parker, Toru Takemitsu, Alexander von Schlippenbach and Arvo Part. The labels ECM, Intakt, Nato and psi have been strong supporters of her work from the 80s onwards.
In addition to portraiture, Caroline Forbes is also a most distinguished landscape photographer. In this capacity her work has been featured by the record labels ECM, Incus, Emanem and psi.

On the technical side, as with most photographers of her generation, the switch from analogue to digital photography was not without initial reluctance. However she was a fairly early adopter, making the transition from Leicas and Hasselblads to Nikon SLRs, from chemicals in the dark room to the computer screen, from 'dodging' and 'burning' to Photoshop she now believes that as the technology improves the advantages of digital photography will provide more scope than ever.
The photographs in the exhibition were chosen for a show at the legendary Bimhuis in Amsterdam and feature musicians many of whose work has been heard at the Ljubljana Jazz Festival.

Evan Parker 2015

The exhibition Caroline Forbes, Portraits of Musicians, has been organised in cooperation with a photographer Žiga Koritnik, Cankarjev dom and the NLB Gallery Avla and is part of the accompanying programme of the 56th Jazz Festival.



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