New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

William Albert Allard
Her Picture in a Frame
W.A. Allard

Unless your photographic tastes are confined mainly to images of trees, graffiti, or cityscapes, you will leave this exhibition by William Albert Allard saying to yourself and anyone else within earshot, “He really knows how to photograph people.” Yes, Bill Allard does, and in this show, the people are women, mostly beautiful women he’s encountered around the world since 1964 while on assignment for National Geographic.

While best known for his images of rugged outdoor types — cowboys, etc.– Allard himself says, “I have probably most enjoyed photographing women.” And the 38 color pictures here confirm that. As he explains in the notes accompanying this exhibition, “Many of the images here are what I consider ‘found' pictures, made serendipitously, as they occurred, without any request on my part, somewhere along the road somewhere in the world. It could be Paris, in a restaurant or backstage at a fashion show...It could be anywhere. It might be a picture made in a glance. There are pictures here, however, that I made of someone I'd seen somewhere and photographed specifically by request.” Adding more significance to some of the images are the photographer’s explanatory notes. For example, in “Woman smoking a cigarette in restaurant, Le Gamin de Paris,” Allard writes, ”Her eyes and mine met just as I raised the camera.” In the now iconic 40”x30” photograph of Italian actress Benedetta Buccellato wearing a veil, Allard explains, “ I photographed her backstage without saying a word, then I said ‘grazi.’” After the photo appeared on the cover of National Geographic, a friend then said, “ A beautiful woman on one cover is worth ten months of monkeys.”

As retrospectives like this make clear, Allard did not discriminate. He photographed Mexicans in local markets, blondes in Mississippi, Brazilian prostitutes in their rooms, and partygoers in a Memphis juke joint. He met his objective in virtually every one: “I want to feel some kind of connection between myself and the subject.”

William Albert Allard
Her Picture in a Frame


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Friday, March 5 to
Saturday, April 17, 2010
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