Philip-Lorca diCorcia is an American photographer who was born in Connecticut, 1951. He attended Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts. He then studied at Yale University and in 1979, attained his Master of Fine Art degree in photography.
DiCorcia’s approaches fluctuates between ironically staged compositions and informal shots. His work is similar to documentary photography combined with the fictions from advertising and cinema. This creates a strong connection amid fantasy, reality and desire.
In the late 70s, diCorcia used his family and friends as subjects for his staged photographs in such a clever way that it made the viewers think that the images were shot spontaneously. Later, he started taking pictures of random individuals in urban places worldwide, such as Calcutta, New York, Tokyo, Rome, Hollywood and Berlin. He often hid the lights in the roadway to illuminate a subject in a unique way, separating them from other street people. He then captured accidental poses, unintended facial expressions and movements, with a sense of drama.
DiCorcia’s series like Heads, Lucky Thirteen, A Storybook Life, Streetwork, and Hustlers – can all be considered as his dynamic explorations of conceptual and formal domains of interest.
His images consists of black humor and can be interpreted in various ways by different viewers. His work is planted with issues and concepts like commodification of morality, identity and art, as well as the selling of reality.
In 1989, Philip-Lorca diCorcia started to work on his project, Hustlers, with the help of $45,000 fellowship granted to him by National Endowment for the Arts.
In the 1990s, he visited Los Angeles five times in order to photograph Hollywood male escorts. Initially, he took pictures of the male prostitutes inside motels, and later he moved the setting to streets. In 1993, 25 photos from this project were exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art. The show was titled, Strangers and each image was labeled with the subject’s name, age, hometown and money they charge.
From 1997 until 2008, DiCorcia and Dennis Freedman collaborated to produce a series of photographic stories of fashion in locations like New York, Cairo and Havana. These stories were formerly published by W magazine.
His work is included in the main collections of museums and galleries around the world, such as Essen’s Museum Folkwang; Paris’s Bibliothèque Nationale, and Centre Georges Pompidou; Museum of Modern Art, and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York); London’s Tate Gallery; and Victoria & Albert Museum.
Works made by diCorcia have been displayed in group exhibitions in Europe and the United States since 1977. He also participated in the traveling retrospective, Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort in 1991 by MoMA, New York. His work was also shown in Whitney Biennial in 1997 at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2003, his work appeared in Tate Museum‘s exhibition, Cruel and Tender.
In 1985, diCorcia did his first unaccompanied show and since then his solo shows have been happening worldwide, including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre National de la Photographie, Paris; Sprengel Museum, Hannover; Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; Art Space Ginza, Tokyo; and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid. In 2009, thousand Polaroids by Philip-Lorca diCorcia were exhibited in New York by David Zwirner. In 2011, his Polaroids were shown at London’s Sprüth Magers.
DiCorcia has received awards as well, including National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 198o, 1986 and 1989; John Simon Guggenheim memorial Foundation Fellowship, 1987; Alfred Eisenstaedt Award, 1998; Infinity Award for Applied Photography from International center of Photography, 2001; and etc.