From creator of poetic images to compelling storyteller, Jerry Schatzberg has excelled in both the realms of photography and filmmaking. Published in Vogue, McCall’s, Esquire, Glamour, and Life in the 1960’s. Schatzberg captured intimate portraits of the generation's most notable artists, celebrities and thinkers (from Bob Dylan to Robert Rauschenberg), and he pushed on in the 1970s to the medium of film participating in the renaissance of American cinema, directing films such as: Puzzle of a Downfall Child, The Panic in Needle Park, Scarecrow.
It was portrait photography that taught Schatzberg how to deal with actors. He realized that most people feared the photographer’s lens. To relax them he would spend as much time with them as possible. Not only to know them better but to see beyond the surface and discover their true self, the one they hid from the outside world. Most of his great portraits of the sixties - Bob Dylan, Francis Coppola, Andy Warhol, Arlo Guthrie, Roman Polanski, Fidel Castro, Milos Forman, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, The Rolling Stones and many more - reveal these moments of truth.
By not giving specific directions to his photographic models Schatzberg gave them rein to find the moment. It is the same way he gets actors to reach inside. In many ways his photographic style is much closer to that of Andre Kertesz or Henri Cartier-Bresson, than to the contemporary Irving Penn or Richard Avedon. Instead of the self-contained space of the frame he looks for the space beyond. His Photographs are narrative; they tell a story. In an instant they recognize an action, a gesture, an emotion while at the same time they have a rigorous formal pattern that expresses their meaning. The style however, never manifests itself ostentatiously and never encroaches the fluidity of life.