Interview with Tim Jefferies on Hiro at Hamiltons Gallery, London

Interview with Tim Jefferies on Hiro at Hamiltons Gallery, London

For the first time in over 20 years, Hamiltons Gallery, London, is presenting the work of esteemed photographer Hiro. This retrospective of Hiro’s photographs is just a small selection from his diverse and dynamic ouevre and displays Hiro, as he is widely regarded, as a photographer unlike any other. Known for the originality of his photographs, Hiro’s photographic career began at Harper’s Bazaar in New York as a fashion, still-life and portrait photographer. Shortly after arriving in America from Japan in 1954, he landed an apprenticeship in Richard Avedon’s studio. Avedon soon sent Hiro to legendary art director Alexey Brodovitch after he proved too talented not to work independently, and within a few years Hiro had risen to extraordinary fashion photography heights. We speak to Tim Jefferies, Hamiltons Gallery owner, about the exhibition, which he curated with the direct involvement of Hiro. Tim began working with Hiro in the early 1990s.

A: Bearing in mind the breadth of work, how did you select the pieces for the exhibition?
TJ: I selected my favourite pictures from what was available as limited edition prints. Hiro has a vast oeuvre spanning many decades of work, so it was a challenge bringing together a representative selection that comprises a retrospective exhibition, which could fit in my gallery.

A: With Hiro’s meticulous approach, how involved was he in the exhibition?
TJ: Hiro was very much involved in each step of the process, from selection to design and installation of the exhibition, including the production of a maquette for the gallery space, so he could envision and review the exhibition layout.

A: How has Hiro’s work evolved over the years and what makes his photography so unique, and what can we learn from his photographs?
TJ: Hiro started his artistic practice with a unique vision and perspective; he has unfailingly and consistently hewed to that vision throughout the decades.  His technique transcends the demands of the genre, bridging the gulf between fine art and fashion – this is unusual in the field of photography. We learn just how  very difficult it is to create a beautiful, unique image – how challenging it is to master the art of photography!

Hiro, until 12 March, Hamiltons Gallery, 13 Carlos Place, London W1K 2EU.

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1. Hiro, Jerry Hall, 1975. Courtesy of Hamiltons Gallery.