John Stoddart's celebrity snaps at La Galleria, Pall Mall

By Culture24 Staff | 09 February 2009
A picture of a middle aged man standing with a camera around his neck

Pic © John Stoddart, courtesy La Galleria

Exhibition: Flowers in a Dark Room & Dirty Little Pictures, La Galleria Pall Mall, London, until February 17 2009

Nobody familiar with John Stoddart’s snaps of the rich and famous could begrudge him his self-imposed title as a celebrity photographer. From stage-managed pictures of the Blairs in the back of a taxi to Daniel Craig, Bjork and Hugh Hefner, Stoddart’s clientele form a who’s who of A-listers.

A picture of a man lying on a pink sofa in a room full of antiques

Pic © John Stoddart, courtesy La Galleria

The biggest part of his portfolio, though, is devoted to the virtually anonymous – strippers, actors and the characters of the adult entertainment business. It’s a fascination inspired by Hitchcock and Polanski and formed by ancient frescoes in seedy Pompeii, followed by a discovery that Britain was the last country in Europe to make professional adult movies.

A picture of a woman in a shiny silver suit on a street at night

Pic © John Stoddart, courtesy La Galleria

Stoddart has honed a style perfect for capturing this titillating underworld – his more memorable takes include Elvis entertaining half-naked women and the likes of Liz Hurley and Amanda Holden sitting around in their undies – and Dirty Little Pictures is unsurprisingly “revealing” in its portraits of porn stars and the technicians who work with them.

A picture of a half naked Iggy Pop sitting on a bed with young women on either side of him

Pic © John Stoddart, courtesy La Galleria

The set of 68 voyeuristic black and white images were taken during two years studying the sets of different movies, and they provide an over-18s accompaniment to Flowers in a Dark Room, his multi-layered primary exhibition which opens two hours beforehand.

A picture of a piece of art on a wall next to the door of a sex shop

Pic © John Stoddart, courtesy La Galleria

Based on Salome, a painting of the head of John the Baptist by the Italian master painter Caravaggio, it supplements triptych images from Stoddart’s career considering the fickle nature of fame with poems by John Armstrong.

A picture of a man in a pink shirt holding a squid

Pic © John Stoddart, courtesy La Galleria

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