I've never blogged before, but boasting about the current show at the Annenberg Space for Photography is a great reason to start. I have been fortunate enough to have exhibits all over the world - in Japan, in New Zealand, in the UK, in France and all over the United States - but I've never had an exhibit as beautiful or in a setting that was anything as special as the Annenberg Space for Photography.
I've worked very hard to be in the position at this stage in my career where galleries offer me one-man shows, and I almost always turn down any other kind of offer. I can't remember the last time I was sharing a show with anyone else. However, over a year ago in September when Pat Lanza called me and told me about the Annenberg Space for Photography - which was then under construction - and she told me her idea to do a two-man show with the other photographer being Walter Iooss, it took me all of about one and a half seconds to enthusiastically say 'YES!'
I like to think that I'm the living expert on Walter Iooss' photography, having met him when I was 17 and he was 16, and then having had to compete with him for over 30 years. I can honestly say that nobody knows how good Walter is as much as I do. I like to think, and often say, that Walter is a genius with a God-given gift to take great pictures. Believe me I'm not being modest (I've never met a successful modest photographer) when I say that I've had to work 10 times as hard as Walter just to keep up with him. The end result - boasting as much as I'm willing to boast - is that if I were a photo editor at a magazine with one big assignment to make, and I had to choose between me and Walter, I'd choose me. One thing about my relationship with Walter that always surprises people is that we've been close friends for almost 50 years, and we've never even had a minor argument about anything. I'd like to think that he respects my work as much as I do his.
I think this show at the Annenberg Space for Photography will do everything I ever dreamed of having done to raise the bar for Sports Photography and to establish my legacy within the field. Long after I'm gone I hope my work will be remembered as something special, and this is the best opportunity I've had to date to begin establishing that legacy. I couldn't be happier or prouder of the excellent job Pat Lanza and her team have done in assembling this show, and am thrilled about the opening of the show this Friday. Of course, we're all very grateful to Wallis Annenberg and her incredible generosity to Los Angeles and to the Photographic community at large...none of this could have happened without her.
SPORT: Iooss & Leifer will be on view at the Annenberg Space for Photography for four months. Nothing would make me happier than for this show to be able to travel to other venues and cultural institutions all over the United States, and eventually all over the world. This show is truly a great one, and it would be really nice for people who don't get to see it here in Los Angeles to be able to see it elsewhere sometime in the near future. But for now I hope you can come to the Photography Space here in Los Angeles and see for yourself what I'm talking about.
-NEIL LEIFER, dictated at the Annenberg Space for Photography, Nov. 10, 2009
SPORT: Iooss & Leifer runs from November 14, 2009 - March 7, 2010
Annenberg Space for Photography
2000 Avenue of the Stars