Richard Corman

About this series by Richard Corman:

"In 1984, I was asked to photograph Jean Michel Basquiat for L’Uomo Vogue. When I walked into the artist’s loft 

I was immediately engulfed by a wave of creative confusion. The room was a swirl of people, paint, canvas, color 

and smoke. Off in the corner was Basquiat submerged and almost invisible. My immediate instinct was to remove 

him from all the distractions and place him in front of a thin 4’ wall of grey seamless paper. I wanted to see behind 

his eyes and allow him to tell the most elemental part of his story – the human spirit behind the art. It is tempting 

to second guess the decision I made that day at 57 Great Jones St, but I was interested in a simple portrait of a 

complicated genius. I was a young artist myself and I was drawn to the immediacy of this painter’s presence. I 

believed in that moment that less was more and I knew no better solution. During that short period of time, less 

than one hour, I shot 79 frames. While each of my photographs are similar in structure, from frame to frame 

Basquiat’s intensity, his intelligence, anger, curiosity, gaze, and hands and body language mutated and shifted. 

Those faceted revelations moved me to share this work for the first time. His luminous presence and indelible 

talent shines through the simplicity of the setting. I don’t regret my decision."

 

While Richard Corman’s photography varies widely in subject matter, it is always intensely focused on the infinitely varied expressions of the human spirit. Ken Burns, documentarian and director, describes Richard’s work as:

 

"Artistic vision dedicated to the highest aspirations of human endeavor...
the photographs record in big moments and small, among the famous
and ordinary, the gifted and challenged, larger truths relevant to all of us."

 

As a portrait photographer, Corman has worked with a thrilling breadth of subjects from Nobel Peace Prize recipients Nelson Mandela and Elie Wiesel to esteemed actors at the top of their profession such as Robert De Niro, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Meryl Streep. In addition to his work with those already acknowledged for their accomplishments, Corman has the unique ability to see the compelling gifts in yet to be celebrated young artists. This has led him to working relationships with Madonna, Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring as each was on the cusp of showing to the world what Richard had already captured.

 

Richard has worked with elite athletes who inspire greatness, like Michael Jordan, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Muhammad Ali. Beyond the physical prowess and beauty of the athletes, Richard has been able to capture the spirit of determination and dedication that is at each of their cores.  

 

Some of the best-loved musicians of our time have worked with Corman, including Sting, Wynton Marsalis and Barbra Streisand. Richard’s gift for generating trust and openness with his subjects has extended to his portraits of writers, visual artists and dancers, who epitomize the best of their art, such as Kurt Vonnegut, Isamu Noguchi and Misty Copeland. 

 

Richard is driven to find and capture an essential image of great spirits and great talent. Throughout his career, he’s been fortunate and honored to find them at all stages of the arc of their career.

 

Richard’s desire to capture the beauty of the human spirit extends beyond the commercial and entertainment worlds. Humbling experiences with many socio-cultural projects and non-profit organizations have translated into an extensive portfolio of indelible images. Most notable is his personal and profoundly compassionate work with the Special Olympics. Richard has traveled the world photographing these inspiring athletes for over two decades. 

 

Richard has found great fulfillment in his work with the Wounded Warrior Project, American Association for Cancer Research, Amnesty International, United Way, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, The ACLU, Christopher Reeve and Dana Reeve Foundation, March of Dimes and Muhammad Ali's Parkinson's Center.

 

The fine art world of Photography has embraced his published books and limited edition fine art prints.

 

Richard, a native New Yorker, is inspired daily by the creative energy in New York City. Richard has a degree in Art History and Psychology from Hunter College. In addition, he spent two years apprenticing with Richard Avedon early in his career, and assisting him on the American West project. That time continues to influence Richard's work. He resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with his wife, Patricia and his son, William.