New York Photo Review
Volume 4 Issue 40 October 16 to 22, 2013

The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino

In the Mix
Max Kozloff
New York Over the Top
Susan Sermoneta

Photo by Max Kozloff . Source: stevenkasher.com Max Kozloff, "Blue Extravaganza, West Indian Carnival" 1993

Looking at Max Kozloff's photographs is analogous to reading a multi-layered poem.

Let's read, for example, "Blue Extravaganza, West Indian Carnival." First the surface, the what-it's-about. Superficially, the photograph is at least partly about a moment in New York's West Indian Day parade, about a long blue sparkle and sequin dress and blue and black head dress worn by a someone with her back to us. Her head dress obscures the faces of the dancers around her. Studying the blue costume for several seconds, I decide the head dress and cape represent a spider's body. Blue feather plumes that extend at least arm's length on either side of the head dress become furry legs that flutter as the wearer moves. I hear music: steel drums. The spider woman moves and the soft fabric of her full skirt swirls out, in circles around her hips as she moves. The dancers around her wear tights; we see their legs mid-movement. We see tiny fragments of faces and bodies through the spider's feather legs. In the bottom right corner we see the close-up profile of a spectator, a boy, or maybe a girl. The spectator speaks to someone we can't see – someone standing between us and the blue costume. The loud music makes the words impossible to hear. I become part of the carnival with the spider woman and the dancers.

Photo by Max Kozloff . Source: stevenkasher.com Max Kozloff, "Umbrella Madness #2" 1983

Kozloff’s exhibit, Over the Top at Steve Kasher is replete with such images.

How does Kozloff manage to compose so thoughtfully when he's shooting a street scene that's alive? Maybe "real life" presents itself to us thoughtfully composed only if we wait and watch patiently.

A master of wide angle composition in the tradition of Garry Winogrand and Gilles Peress, Kozloff adds a bravura feeling for color to the mix and a sense of street life as ordered as it is chaotic.

Photo by Max Kozloff . Source: stevenkasher.com Max Kozloff, "Rich and Famous" 1996

Max Kozloff
New York Over the Top


Steven Kasher Gallery
521 W 23rd St.
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Thursday, September 12 to
Saturday, October 19, 2013
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