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Robert Hale, African American, b. 1947
Portrait of John Outterbridge, 1998
Photographic materials on paper
18 x 13 in. (45.72 x 33.02 cm)

Object Type: Photography
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Scripps College. Purchase made possible by the Jean and Arthur Ames Fund
Accession Number: 2012.4.9

John Outterbridge is widely acknowledged as a sculptor and installation artist affiliated with California Assemblage, but he is as equally well known for his work as a community organizer namely as the director of the Watts Towers Arts Center in Los Angeles from 1975 - 1992. He has been a highly influential teacher and mentor for generations of artists, both in his sensitive approach to materials and his commitment to cultural activism. Throughout his long career, Outterbridge has created profoundly poetic work from the basest of found objects, the discarded materials of American society - trash, rubber, burlap, nails, broken glass, rusted steel and hair.

Of this photo, the photographer states:

This portrait of John made in May 1998 is from the second session we had. The first session was shortly after meeting him at a dinner party for John Biggers in Los Angeles. That shoot took place in my studio in Los Angeles, this one was made at his home. Not having much light inside his studio, and not wanting to use an artificial source, I spied this corner lit from above by a skylight, and directing him to hold his head up a bit higher than normal, I was able to take advantage of the light and shadows. I also like to think that the sculpture in the photograph is John himself. As with the others, we have maintained contact over the years. Even our birthdays are just days apart.

From: African American Visions: Selections from the Samella Lewis Collections catalog, (Scripps College, 2012), p. 52

silver gelatin print

Object Description
Robert Hale stands before one of his large sculptures, arms crossed.

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