World through Heery’s lens
“My job as a portrait photographer is to seduce, amuse and entertain,” the great snapper Helmut Newton famously said, his erotically charged black-and-white photos a mainstay of Vogue and other publications for decades last century.
He operated at the height of his fame in an era when people were still entranced by photography’s almost magical ability to reproduce life in a heightened fashion and loved being amused by the great entertainer’s ability to straddle the line between fashion and porn.
Now it’s all changed and as Heery’s World, a fine documentary from director and producer Ann Jones, asks in a world where everything takes a photograph: what is the value of professional portraiture?
Shot over what looks like six rather frenzied years, her beautifully constructed film follows celebrated Australian photographer Gary Heery, whose rise to fame began with shooting Madonna’s first album cover in New York. The documentary follows the gregarious and mischievous Heery on his many photographic quests, taking us to the Bandidos clubhouse, a gay S & M parlour and Sydney’s Wayside Chapel.
Heery is one of this country’s great underappreciated artists. “He’s a photographer who captures the dynamic and the superficiality of our times,” says Edmund Capon.
His photographs have “integrity and immortality instilled in them, even though dealing with the passing parade of contemporary life”. And as this film so beguiling reveals, he does it by cajoling, humouring and entertaining all those he captures through his lens.
As Jones suggests, “We also learn a little about compassion, acceptance, and the openness that the creative quest embraces.” Tuesday, 7.30pm, Arts (133)
Gary Heery, a self portrait