PHOTOGRAPHY

As the daughter of a Hollywood glamour photographer, who was often the subject of her photos when she was just starting out, I grew up hating to be photographed. I realized that my comfort zone was behind the lens and not in front of it, and my goal has been to make my subjects feel comfortable under my gaze.

When I made the portraits of Charles Bukowski back in the mid-1970s, we had no idea they would be considered icons 20 years later. There was a socio-political-cultural zeitgeist taking place that offered many opportunities to a fledgling photojournalist based in Los Angeles and often working on location in New York. I conceived a book project, Frigid Air: black and white photographs of famous people and their refrigerators, which featured an eclectic cast of characters that included artists Ed Ruscha and June Wayne, directors Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Paul Morrissey, authors Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and many more. It was featured in Los Angeles magazine, Zeit, and Paris Match, to name a few, but due to various circumstances, did not get published. I have exhibited an assortment of these vintage fridge shots, as well as “Portraits of the Man Behind the Myth” in galleries throughout Europe: from Amsterdam and London, to Helsinki and Turku. In 2015, some of my Bukowski portraits were exhibited in the prestigious Paris Photo, at the Grand Palais, reperesented in designer agnes b’s Galerie du Jour.

GALLERIES

A selection of my work is shown below. The four galleries contain some of the Charles Bukowski images, famous people and their refrigerators, and other work. Portraits of Charles Bukowski, Henry Miller, Muhammad Ali, Chuck Close, and others, can be purchased via this website. Please contact me directly about prices, paper quality and format. These photographs are subject to international copyright laws, and therefore have watermarks to protect them.

GALLERY II. People & Their Refrigerators 

I conceived the Frigid Air book project when I was working as a late night disc jockey. I was reflecting on some random thoughts during a 12-minute cut of “Loan Me a Dime” by Boz Scaggs, and came up with the idea, Are We What We Eat? What do the refrigerators of everyday people have in common with celebrities. There were around 35 participants, from jazz singer Carmen McRae to comedian Phyllis Diller, enhanced even more by the presence of rising directors Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Andy Warhol’s collaborator Paul Morrissey; iconoclastic authors like Henry Miller and Charles Bukowski, visionary artists Ed Ruscha and June Wayne; actors Marty Feldman, Warren Oates and Ronee Blakley, and more. I had written the introductory chapter, “The History of the Refrigerator: From Cave to Kelvinator,” along with a chapter on the celebrities who had turned me down, including Jack Nicholson and Watergate lawyer John Dean. (When Dean’s wife Mo called to cancel the shoot at the last minute, I couldn’t resist asking her if there were any tapes in the freezer, before she hung up on me). Due to unexpected circumstances (which included the sky-rocketing price of silver which had an influence on museum quality photographer paper, the project was ill-fated. But remains original and very much ahead of its time.

GALLERY IV. People & Their Environments

I prefer to photograph my subjects in their own environments. More on this to come.

GALLERY V. Made in Finland

I have been traveling to Finland since 1987 when I arrived in Helsinki to do research for an article I was writing for Master Chef magazine about why the Russian restaurants in Helsinki were better than those in Russia.   I was astonished. What in the hell was in Helsinki?  Since that first surprising visit, I have continued making pilgrimages to Finland ….writing articles and a number of guidebooks for the US and UK markets, as well as making good friends and colleagues along the way. In 2002, my exhibition “Made in Finland”, paid homage to a couple dozen of colorful characters who crossed my path and helped me discover a unique country that has inspired me and continues to interest me.

These portraits are of a diverse group of personages whose body of work and reputations have been made in Finland, be they writers, photographers, politicians, philosophers, poets, artists, book dealers, film makers, designers, boat builders, or the energetic force behind Marimekko. This remains a work-in-progress which I intend to eventually turn into a book that will, of course, be made in Finland. 

 

GALLERY VI. The Last Portrait

 I  This is a project-in-progress which I began several years ago. It was inspired by some friends who were diagnosed with terminal illnesses, and who wished to spend the final chapter of their lives with dignity, focused on the quality of life. I felt inspired to make portraits of them in their environments which would capture a moment of strength and power during this difficult period, and serve as a loving memory to their family and friends. I eventually rethought the concept for this project, which was proving to be difficult and highly sensitive, in terms of finding participants. I decided to focus on the aging (not only the ailing), and document energetic and engaged people over 70 years old, in their comfort zones. The purpose of creating these portraits is to provide life-affirming evidence in a memorable ‘’last’’ portrait. Please contact me about fees and to make an appointment.

GALLERY VII. Posters, Postcards & Memorabilia

Memorabili     To order posters, postcards and other memorabilia, please contact me at info@joangannij.com. The minimum order for postcards is 5 euro, plus postage and packaging. Posters range from 15 euro to 50 euro, plus postage and packaging.  Contact me via email for prices on memorabilia.