Age of Silver is iconic American photographer John Loengard’s ode to the art form to which he dedicated his life. Loengard, a longtime staff photographer and editor for LIFE magazine and other publications, spent years documenting modern life for the benefit of the American public. Over the years he trained his camera on dignitaries, artists, athletes, intellectuals, blue and whitecollar workers, urban and natural landscapes, manmade objects, and people of all types engaged in the act of living. In Age of Silver, Loengard gathers his portraits of some of the most important photographers of the last half-century, including Annie Leibovitz, Ansel
Adams, Man Ray, Richard Avedon, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and
many, many others. Loengard caught them at home and in the studio; posed portraits and candid shots of the artists at work and at rest.
Complimenting these revealing, expertly composed portraits are elegant photographs of the artists holding their favorite or most revered negatives. This extra dimension to the project offers an inside peek at the artistic process and is a stark reminder of the physicality of the photographic practice at a time before the current wave of digital dominance. There is no more honest or faithful reproduction of life existent in the world of image making than original, untouched silver negatives.
Far from an attempt to put forth a singular definition of modern photographic practice, this beautifully printed, duotone monograph instead presents evidence of the unique vision and extremely personal style of every artist pictured. Annie Leibovitz is quoted in her caption as once saying, “I am always perplexed when people say that a photograph has captured someone. A photograph is just a piece of them in a moment. It seems presumptuous to think you can get more than that.” However, by including not just portraits of the artists, but also of their negatives Loengard aims to capture something more than just a piece of each of photography’s greats with Age of Silver.