Biography


“My photographs have always been a way of not only making an intimate connection with people, but also of recording the moments of history I have witnessed.” — Ellen Graham

 
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By John Loring - Ellen Graham’s photographs strike the perfect balance between Hollywood portrait and personality study.

In her forty years of work for magazines like Vanity Fair, Vogue, Time, and Newsweek, Graham has been entrusted by actors, artists, performers, socialites, and their imposters, to photograph them in their own environments, be it in Palm Beach or the beaches of Venice’s Lido, Beverly Hills or New York, the streets of Havana, and elsewhere in Paris.

The glamour and sense of theater are there, but so too is the reality and idiosyncrasy of the subject, stripped bare and fixed in an absolutely personal moment of revelation before the photographer, egomaniacal and vulnerable, caught in the act.

Her subjects are actors of one sort or another. The theme of identity in flux rampages throughout Graham’s work - intriguing, inviting, spectacular. They show us a moment snatched from the past. Something we weren’t there to see and that we can only know from a black and white shadow. There is much to recognize, to identify - to reflect whatever one’s own hidden or revealed identities might be. 

 

“Graham goes beyond the typical pose, capturing life stories in a grimace, a wisp of hair, a knowing glance or a bravura display of ego, turning photography into art.” — Rex Reed

 
Diana Vreeland, Gloria Swanson, The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, 1975

Diana Vreeland, Gloria Swanson, The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, 1975

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Ellen Graham with her prints, Beverly Hills, CA, 1975

Ellen Graham with her prints, Beverly Hills, CA, 1975

Alexis Graham, Alberto Giacometti-Grande femme II, Pasadena, CA, 1977

Alexis Graham, Alberto Giacometti-Grande femme II, Pasadena, CA, 1977

Gloria Swanson and Ian Graham, New York, NY, 1976, At Gloria’s Wedding to William Duffy

Gloria Swanson and Ian Graham, New York, NY, 1976, At Gloria’s Wedding to William Duffy