Sunday, April 18th, 2010
With Coachella crescendoing it’s almost exactly one year ago, we lost a tremendous talent and a wonderful person in photographer Shawn Mortensen. His phenomenal photos appeared in the finest publications and captured some of the most subtantive individuals of our generation. His portrait of Tupac Shakur was one of the rapper’s most definitive images. The middle-finder wielding Tupac with a joint in his other hand is still near the top of the all-time sales records for poster releases.
However, there’s a great many masterful portraits by Mortensen. His book Out Of Mind is the culmination of some of his best work. In one of Mortensen’s final artistic endeavors, he had returned to working with a Polariod format. Coming full-circle to a medium that had brought him into the field of photography, the polariod portraits that Mortensen produced in the last months of his life are very special among his impressive output.
Here we contrast the only two ‘double-signed’ polaroids that Mortensen ever produced – Keith Haring from 1989 and KAWS from 2009.
A portrait of KAWS appears in Out of Mind and Mortensen is known as publishing an edition of one for a private collector, as a gift. More on Mortensen from last year on Super Touch Art.