Exploring the essential question of how the quest for money and fame can lead to a dark place, John Stoddart has curated a new exhibition encompassing both new and classic shots that capture the sexiness and seediness of stardom. A show both shocking in its stillness and tantalizing in its sinfulness, ‘The Black Dahlia Avenger: Homage to a Murder' shines a spotlight on the flip-side of notoriety.
Inspired by the Black Dahlia murder that shook Hollywood to its core in 1947, Stoddart became absorbed by not only the gruesome fate of the raven-haired would-be starlet but also fascinated by recent theories that the murder itself may have been directly linked to the Surrealist movement: death imitates art.
Stoddart has curated his photographs in such a way that a cautionary tale is told. From the innocent beautify of a young Catherine Zeta Jones to the powerful imagery of an unnamed woman, lying soullessly on the Hollywood floor, the photos themselves narrate a story; the story of a glamorous town, where the search for the silver screen can come to a screeching halt, all in the quest for celebrity.
Stoddart explains: "I first became aware of the Black Dahlia after reading James Ellroy's novel. After looking further into this bizarre and horrific crime, particularly the school of thought that associates it with the Surrealist Movement of that period (Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst etc.), I started to look more deeply at my own work, reappraising influences on me over the years; movies, crime-scene photographs, particularly the LAPD archive. I saw a continuous link in the visual depiction of the 'victim'. As a photographer for over 25 years working in the fame business, I have been amazed to what lengths people will go for their "15 minutes of fame". I have always felt there is at least a psychological danger in the pursuit of fame."
Critic James Mullinger in GQ magazine has described Stoddart's work as ‘titillating, provocative, controversial and, most importantly, sexy. Stoddart is a legend.'
This exciting exhibition will take place at Vortigern Margate Gallery, 6 Lombard Street, Margate, CT9 1EJ, from the 1st of November – 4th December.
John Stoddart has been a sought out photographer for more than twenty-five years and has published two photography books, It's Nothing Personal and Peep World, both of which explored the elusive world of fame. His work has been exhibited in several galleries and museums, world-wide, including The Vault Gallery in Hollywood and La Galleria Pall Mall in London. He has had numerous solo-exhibitions including Punks, Poets and Other Stars (1997), It's Nothing Personal (2004), Peep World (2006), Society (2008), and Dirty Little Pictures (2009). He has worked for nearly every magazine in the UK and internationally, including Vanity Fair and The New York Times.