The black and white photographs in the Looking for Langston series were taken by Gupta during the filming of Julien’s acclaimed 1989 film Looking for Langston and are being exhibited for the first time. The individual images are evocative, richly detailed works that articulate the strikingly crafted visual qualities of the film. A video presentation of Looking for Langston will also be on view.
The 26-image portfolio sets a high standard for photographs that parallel film projects – they are intense renderings of the visual components that might be missed in a filmic image. Gupta’s photographs capture key elements and nuances of Julien’s film production, including the staging, lighting, iconography and choreography.
Isaac Julien’s Looking for Langston is a fantasy meditation on the issues of race, sexuality and art shared by Langston Hughes and his contemporaries during the Harlem Renaissance, and explores their evolution in the late 1980s when the film was made. In the film, Julien draws on film noir, the nudes and fashion shots of photographer George Platt Lynes, and James Van Der Zee’s funeral photographs and portraits of Harlem residents during the 30’s and 40’s.