LAWRENCE HATHAWAY has been making iconic photographs for more than 60 years. Presented here are legends he has known, to appear with others in a forthcoming book.
I think of you as a poet with a camera.
LIBRADO “LEE” ROMERO
New York Times Photographer
IN MY NEARLY 83 YEARS I have been lucky on many counts. Not least among these is having met and experienced some extraordinary people who have pursued photographic and artistic goals, as I have – and who have been profound inspirations to me in my work. Some of these people I was able to document with my camera; others inspired me with their words and ideas. While frequently different in style, approach and philosophy, all of them continue to affect me and teach me something new to this day. This collection is a tribute to those living and passed, and my expression of gratitude to them.
LAWRENCE HATHAWAY has developed a collection of pictures that expose subtle, yet profound truths – less because of what we expect to see in his portraits, and more because of what the photos conceal.
I like how you do portraits…
I WAS A HALF-ABSENTEE FATHER in the 1990s, commuting each month from our Oregon home to Los Angeles for two-week stints with a management consulting firm. My absences were an issue with my family, and when I made a lighting error, obscuring my own face, with a family snapshot, my kids called me Shadow Daddy – hilarious to them but an ironic reminder of my part-time parenting status. Faces in shadow or otherwise obscured had always appeared in my work (mostly deliberately). But it was not until the Shadow Daddy incident, triggered by my children, that I began to assemble and create a specific body of work around that theme.
LAWRENCE HATHAWAY distills decades of people picture-taking into a handful of classic images that persist in their soulful resonance.
WHEN I LOOK OVER my 300,000-plus (and growing) collection of photographic images dating back to 1961, those that hold my interest tend to be the ones with human subject matter, perhaps unsurprisingly. My connections with people turn out to be what really count for me in this life, despite my shyness, social awkwardness and limited verbal skills. And the sport of people-watching never lessens in its appeal.
LAWRENCE HATHAWAY makes his most familiar model in the field the primary subject of a personal and often abruptly truthful self examination.
Your use of the camera for self portraits is very daring.
LONG BEFORE the advent of cellphones and the ubiquitous concept of “selfie,” I carried a camera with me at almost all times (and still usually do). The subject that was also consistently present was myself, so I frequently used my own image for lighting and other tests. Then friends wanted selfies of my travels while I was away on frequent business trips. Soon it became routine for documenting my day as well as most testing, reaching new heights during the COVID-19 pandemic.
PHOTOS BY LARRY
LAWRENCE HATHAWAY has someone he’d like you to meet.
Too contrasty, needs more tonal range, not enough detail…
I HAVE TRIED for many years to understand photography in terms of other practitioners and what consumers of photography like. What does history tell us about the photographic medium, what are the necessary techniques for creating valid art, what are the rules for composition and formal elements, what makes a memorable image in the eyes of its viewer? All along, I have found my greatest enjoyment and satisfaction comes from returning to a childlike state of awareness and wonder. To that end, larry serves as my alter ego as I give myself over to an emotional, visceral self that can chase visual connections inspired by accidents, unintended consequences, dreams, childhood fantasies, eyelid movies and afterimages, acid trips, experiments, surprises and play. All are unconstrained by notions of proper exposure, focus, clarity, assorted technical factors, propriety of subject matter, choice of tools and more. This collection represents examples of work that come from exercising this alter ego.
Largely self-taught, LAWRENCE HATHAWAY has been working in photography since returning from the Vietnam War in 1968. As a child he loved art, drawing creative car concepts and constructing comic strips in his room. Without guidance, MAD, LOOK and LIFE magazines became his mentors, and where he discovered the prodigious work of Jackson Pollock in one of those spreads.
Inspired artistically, Lawrence latched onto his family’s Kodak Brownie as a means of expressing himself. Even later, with a degree in business administration, he preferred the company of artists and creative nonconformists.
A gig with fashion photographer Lynne Garber after the war drew him further away from the world of business, and he turned his attention more fully to exploring the creative arts in the like-minded environs of the Venice Beach arts community.
More than 60 years after taking his first intentional portrait, Lawrence continues to embrace the joy of photography, expressed in a free-ranging approach to the medium. To know Lawrence as a photographer is to understand how he loved grain in the analog days and has embraced pixelation in the digital era.
Tap here to discover more of the work of Lawrence (and larry).