According to TIME magazine, Henri Dauman created “photos that play like a slideshow of some of the biggest moments in American history and popular culture.” From JFK to Brigitte Bardot, Henri Dauman's iconic photography defined the 20th century.
Born in 1933 in Montmartre, Dauman’s early childhood was plagued by tragedy during World War II. In the face of extreme adversity, Dauman found purpose and solace behind the lens of a 35mm camera. Following a photographic apprenticeship at Courbevoie, and acquiring experience in entertainment photography at Radio Luxembourg, and the Bernand Agency in Paris, Dauman immigrated to New York at the age of 17.
Henri’s early fascination with film taught him how to tell a story. Without a formal photography education, Dauman started working for France-Amérique, and expanded his horizons to European publications Paris-Match, Jours de France, Epoca, and Der Stern. The European publications that were printing Dauman’s work did not go unnoticed by bigger American publications. and in 1959, at the age of 26, he received the first of many assignments commissioned by Life Magazine.
While on assignment, Dauman captured poignant images of celebrities, musicians, politicians, pop culture icons and a myriad of pivotal moments in American history. His wide range of subjects included film sirens Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe, music legend Elvis Presley, Pop icon Andy Warhol, John and Jacqueline Kennedy, and writers Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams. He also travelled internationally to bring the Castro revolution in Cuba, and Buddhist protests in Vietnam to American newspapers and media.
No matter whom he shot, an innately alluring aspect exists within Dauman’s work. His sensitivity to his subjects allowed him to capture unguarded moments with precision and beauty. Artistically he admits a debt to the visual language of cinema, and by closely observing cinematic techniques - sequences, short cuts, close-ups, contrasting backlight – he created a powerful technical arsenal where image, caption, and text could become one. For Dauman, the layout of magazines often echoed the sequential proficiency of American films.
Dauman’s poignant vision of the world around him was the driving force in his ability to tell the stories of socio-political unease, shifting cultural values, and glimpses into the day-to-day life of 20th Century America. His vision is that of a man whose life experience, and subsequent triumph over many of life’s hurdles, put him in a privileged position to tell the story of a multi-faceted American Dream.
KP Projects is proud to present Henri Dauman’s second U.S. solo exhibition, spanning four decades as a photojournalist and photographer on June 22nd, from 7-10pm at their 633 N. La Brea Gallery.