PHOTOGRAPHER ORLANDO SUERO
I was not familiar with the work of photographer Orlando Suero (born in 1925), until I came across this wonderful 60’s photograph of Claudia Cardinale. I checked out his work from this Golden Age of Hollywood and I find his portraits to be so natural, and so unlike other celebrity photography of that time. The expression he captures on Dennis Hopper’s face ( in the portrait above) taken in the 70’s is a pure example of that rawness and simplicity.
Orlando began photography in 1939 and attended the New York Institute of Photography. He worked at camera shops and photo labs and one of his first assignments was to spend five days in May 1954 with newlyweds Jacqueline and Senator John F. Kennedy at their Georgetown duplex, documenting their everyday lives. This was the beginning of a successful career during which he shot some of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, among them Natalie Wood, Brigitte Bardot, Michael Caine, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, and Dennis Hopper. Apparently he was friendly and warm, so his subjects opened up to him and his camera in a relaxed manner, which is why he managed to capture so many effortless moments.
“My father is very humble about his work. He is very shocked that his photos have come back to life because he never considered himself to be a great photographer. Frankly, he never thought of himself as worthy of a book. - Jim Suero ( his son)
“On December 17, 2017, we got verbal commitment from Hatje Cantz for the book and that day he had a stroke. His stroke took his ability to write, so all he can muster is a crude ‘O’ – but that’s what we were signing. He said, ‘Oh this is such a thrill.’ He was on cloud nine.”
Orlando, edited by Rod Hamilton and his son Jim Suero, published by Hatje Cantz.