Denis Piel’s influence during the 1980’s was significant, earning him an international reputation for his beauty, fashion and celebrity spreads for magazines including Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ.
In 1985 Denis founded Jupiter films. Exploring his “based in life” signature style he worked with diverse clients: Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Revlon, L'Oréal, Guerlain and Estée Lauder, as well as main stream advertising clients like telecoms, Nescafe, Canada Dry, Shell, amongst others, garnering numerous international awards.
In the mid 90’s he made the feature documentary “love is blind”, – a precursor to reality shows – and the beginning of a long exploration of more personal projects in both film and stills, which he continues today.
Piel’s photos are in the permanent collection of The Victoria and Albert Museum, London; The Museum of Fine Art, Boston as well as in numerous private collections including BES photo collection and the Antonio Champalimaud collections.
My book denis piel – MOMENTS published by Rizzoli is due out in September, 2012
Born France 1944, raised in Australia, worked internationally based out of New York now lives in the South-west of France.
He exhibits his work at the Staley Wise Gallery in New York and The Way of Arts in Lisbon, Portugal.
Denis earned an international reputation for his beauty, fashion and celebrity spreads for glossy magazines as well as for directing stylish commercials, winning many international awards including the coveted Leica Award for Excellence for his contribution to commercial photography. .
He has shot many editorial spreads for US, German, Italian, French, English Vogue, Vanity Fair, Self and Gentlemen's Quarterly. this includes many celebrity portraits ranging from the films stars Geena Davis, Nastasia Kinski, andi McDowell, Darryl Hannah, Isabella Rosellini, Goldie Hawn, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lillian Gish, Donald Sutherland, Jeanne Moreau, and Uma Thurman, to the directors and film producers Brain de Palma and Sherry Lansing to politicians such as Mario Cuomo, the writers Joan Didion, Erica Jong, to artists as diverse as Man Ray, Willem and Elaine de Kooning and Jasper Johns and the dancers Mark Morris and Merce Cunningham to name a few.
In 1985, he founded Jupiter Films, an international successful film production company. In the following decade his conceptual imagery and "Based in Life" signature style had him working internationally with agencies and often direct with clients to create unique non-advertising commercials, many regarded as milestones to this day. His clients included well know names such as Anne Klein, Revlon, L'oréal, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Fortune, Sheraton, Guerlain, Helena Rubenstein, Bergdorf Goodman, Ultima, Estée Lauder, Max Factor, Elizabeth Arden, Chanel, and more.
As of the mid 90's denis devoted himself to personal projects, PREMIER OEIL, PLATESCAPES and FACESCAPES.
FACESCAPES is denis's most ambitious project to date.
Here he follows a humanist tradition of getting in close on the subject, creating landscapes of faces, faces as a field, revealing contours and valleys like an aerial view of any terrain. But behind these abstractions piel's desire is to reveal the commonality of the human condition, a way of looking at the mileage of the human clock.
Below revues of most recent work.
"... like many photographers, from Richard Avedon with his subjects in mental asylums to Lord Snowden who filmed derelicts in London's doss houses, Denis seeks to explore other dimensions." ".....starting with his lauded feature length documentary, LOVE IS BLIND and now with FACESCAPES, Denis follows a humanist tradition of getting in almost below the surface on his subjects to reveal the traces of life. These explorations into the human condition are the very antithesis of the beauty pictures that made him famous....." Phillip Adams ( writer, critic, etc)
"...our faces are themselves unusual, fascinating and original. As landscapes, theya re physical and spiritual works of art." Madalena Braz Teixeira (museum curator)
".....Scapes, the root on which Denis Piel's titles are based, are views of scenery of any kind..... of land, of water and cloud, of mud or moods. But platescapes and facescapes are new word combinations, as are the images that they describe. If technological change has enabled us to see differently, and to alter what we wish to see through the maniputation of images, it has also meant that we can see things in larger formats, with greater perfection, focus and clarity than every before. If we have entered the post-photographic era, it is due to the possibilities of breaking radically with prior, lens based modes of visual representation.That has given us new subject matter, some of which Denis Piel makes available in his work..... "What we see of the things are the things" writes fernando Pessoa in an appeal against seeing symbolically. Things must be felt as they are. " Why would we see one thing when another thing is there?" What these photographs require, is that we look at the thing that is there, and in doing so, recognize that the currents of contempory photography are perfectly real---- more real than we have ever imagined possible" Memory Holloway (art critic and professor)
The face is a place of infinite projection and empathy. FACESCAPES provides a space for that projection and empathy.
".......Platescapes ....... In the universal activity of man lies a universe of gestures and emotions, a thumbprint of our particular identities, left on tables around the world, everyday. Perhaps it is not so much we are what we eat as much as we are what we leave over. It is the empty plate as modern day fossil record.--------conversations are still dripping on the plates and emotions are still carved into the knives. Time is a frozen gesture here and Piel warms our visual instincts to what, in all likelihood, we have frozen out of our frames. Allowing us to see with such piercing clarity what we have consumed, he allows us to consume what is never very clear: who we are." Howard Altmann (Poet and Philosopher- New York)
The conversations of these dinners play along side the images. The integration of sound and image is an increasingly strong element within denis's work.
PREMIER OEIL are images of his first waking vision of the morning, the anticipation of the day to come. The first of these images can be seen.
Denis Piel's photos are in the permanent colleciton of the Victoria and Albert Musuem, London and The Museum of Fine Art, Boston as well as numerous private collections including the BES photo collection and the Antonio Champalimaud collections.
2010 FACESCAPES TRANSIIONS, Musée du Textile å Labastide Rouairoux, France. 2010 FACESCAPES Musée du Point de Vue , Brussels, Belguim. 2009 FACESCAPES Theatre de Castres, France. 2008 FACESCAPS WOA-Way of Arts, Lisbon, Portugal 2008 FACESCAPES Museu de Traje, Lisbon, Portugal 2007 FACESCAPES Alliance Francaise, Sydney Australia 2007 PLATESCAPES WOA- Way of Arts , Lisbon, Portugal 2003 ENCOUNTERS Staley Wise Gallery, New York 1986 DONNA KARAN, International Centre of Photography at Bergdorf Goodman, New York. 1982 A QUIET OBSESSION, Staley Wise Gallery, New York.
2010 FOCUS MODE, Musée du Textile å Labastide Rouairoux, France with Frank Horvat 2007 FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY, THe Museum of Fine Art, Boston , USA 1994 EVOLUTION / REVOLUTION NNE DECADES OF FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY- touring exhibition including Japan 1989 IMAGES OF DESIRE, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia 1989 PORTRAYALS OF RECENT ADVERTISING PHTOGRAPHY, International Museum of Photography, Rochester, New York. 1987 THE ART OF PERSUASIAN - A History of Advertising Photography, International Center of Photography, New York. 1987 THE STARS OF PHOTOGRAPHY, The Cartier Foundation, Paris 1986 SHOTS OF STYLE IN PHOTOGRAPHY, Victoria and ALbert Mueum, London 1986 7 DECADES OF SYLE IN PHOTOGRAPHY, BMW Galleries, New York 1986 THE FASHIONABLE IMAGE, The Mint Museum, North Carolina 1985 PHOTOGRAPHS ET MODEL DE NOTRE TEMPS, Cannon, France 1985 Fotogalleriet, Oslo, Norway 1984 SUMMER LIGHTS, Staley Wise Gallery, New York 1982 THE NUDES OF FASHION PHOTOGRAPHERS, Staley Wise Gallery, New York 1982 MEN OF STYLE, Staley Wise Gallery, New York
He received 1986-87 Lecia Medal of Excellence for COmmercial Photography, New York.
LECTURES / WORKSHOPS
1986 LECTURE: MASTERD OF PHOTOGRAPY SERIES, Smithsonian insttute, Washington 1985 MAJOR PHOTOGRAPHERS OF THE FASHION MODE, Master Class Workshop, University credit course, The Maine Photographic Workshops, Rockport 1983 GUEST LECTURER- FASHION AND BEAUTY PHOTOGRAPHY SYNPOSIUM, FOCUS 83, New School for Social Research / Parson's School of Design, New York.