Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Grandfather's Portrait of John and Yoko

There's an exhibit going on in Montreal right now called 'Imagine'; it's about the 1969 'bed-in' that took place there. I saw a poster for it the other day in the window of a store and the image they chose caught my attention.

Ivor Sharp was shooting for Time Magazine when he took the photo; he hit it off with John (a fellow Englishmen) and was invited to do a private photo session with John and Yoko in their hotel room. There were thousands of pictures taken during the Montreal 'bed-in' but the intimacy of Ivor's made them stand out against the others.

Of course those 1969 portraits were only one part of a long, storied career for Ivor in this country; he eventually became the most sought after commercial photographer in Canada by the 1980's. He founded Capic, an association to protect photographer’s rights, which is still going strong today. Alas, in 1989, on the verge of selling his studio in downtown Toronto and moving to the countryside, he collapsed and died of a stroke. He was sixty-one years old.

No matter how well crafted his Coca-Cola billboards were however he'll always be remembered for that one picture. The one time he caught history by the neck for a quarter of a second.

The 'Imagine' exhibit is going on in Montreal until June 20th; admission is free.

10 comments:

  1. Hello Robin,

    I was your grandfathers photographic assistant in the 1960s for some years, when he had a studio in Fulham S.W. London, and when shared a studio off Oxford Street, just before he left for Canada...

    Glad to see your keeping his name alive.!
    Tony Nathan

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  2. I met Ivor back in '78 in Northern Ontario, great guy. Stored my jeep back of his studio for a while, winter of '88. Taught me some valuable photographic stuff...R.Hietapakka.

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  3. Hi Robin;I have just aquired a large painting by Ivor from a transparency shot in bordeaux 1973.
    It is of john + yoko in a hallway.So I have it in my hallway + I love it.
    I wonder if there would be any way of seeing the original image?Perhaps if you found it you might pop it on this site for me to see.
    I'll keep checking back. regards M.Eaton

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  4. I was lucky enough to see this photo in Norwich, England yesterday. It's part of an exhibition at The Assembly House called The Art of Peace. The photo is so iconic, to actually see it is amazing!

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  5. I have this hanging in my hall. Your father gave it to my father.

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    Replies
    1. can you contact me at
      grainman@execulink.com

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  6. please contact me i was ivor friend i have every shot he took of the lennons. i want to do a book with you

    http://www.iconeditions.net

    milesfar@hotmail.com

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  7. please contact me i was ivor friend i have every shot he took of the lennons. i want to do a book with you

    http://www.iconeditions.net

    milesfar@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I worked with Ivor on several photo shoots including classic Pepsi Christmas adds in the early to mid 80,s at his Toronto studio He was always generous and made time to explain the workings to a then 5-8 yr old who was interested in photography and camera work Always had lunch off site which was unusual, just so we could go for a ride in his Porsche which he knew I loved. So many of his images are classics, but the man I remember tops them all

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  9. Hi Robin, Met your grandfather around 1972. I was around 21 at the time and doing community youth work in a church basement. I greeted him as he walked in to see what was going on. He was curious. We chatted and it didn't take long before we identified a common association with something called Moral Rearmament. Soon after he came to my house and took some photos which led to one of his "Next Best Thing to Being There" Ads for Bell Telephone. I was getting into photography myself at that time. He took the time to review some of what I was doing and explained that every photo should have an idea behind it. Anyway, he left an impression so I Googled him and came across this page. Cheers.

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