Brian Orter: Oarsmen, 2004

A new exhibit of Brian Orter’s photographs – OARSMEN - will be on display at Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art, New York, located at 515 East 72nd Street, opening 1 April 2004, and continuing through 5 June.

The exhibition depicts athletes from all over the world, competing during the 2000 & 2001 Head of the Charles Regattas in Boston and the 2003 Head of the Schuylkill Regatta in Philadelphia. The Head of the Charles is internationally renowned, while the Head of the Schuylkill is the world’s largest single day rowing regatta. Both competitions feature men and women of all ages, from young prep school jocks to senior masters. Orter’s photographs capture these elite oarsmen both on and off the water, at ease and at the point of exhaustion. 

A select group of Orter’s rowing photographs were first exhibited in New York in 2002, and an augmented exhibition was held at Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art, Philadelphia in 2003, to coincide with that year’s Head of the Schuylkill races. Now, for the first time, the images from Boston and the new pictures from Philadelphia are going to be united in a single exhibit. A catalogue, published by the gallery, with text by the novelist Christopher Rice, will accompany the show.

Brian Orter is a native New Yorker. Educated at Parsons School of Design, his pictures have been widely published in a broad selection of magazines. Now based in LA and New York, this Brooklyn-born photographer was initially drawn to the athleticism, strength and conditioning required of oarsmen competing at these levels. He came to admire the dedication and discipline inherent in the sport. Following in the tradition of the Philadelphia-based painter and oarsman,Thomas Eakins, Orter’s images convey the eroticism of the finely conditioned athlete. At the same time, he was taken with the sense of tradition that pervades the rowing clubs that line these legendary rivers, and the serenity and natural beauty of these quiet waterways running through these gritty urban environments. Orter’s pictures were taken from a variety of vantage points. He had access to the races from the shore and on the water, alongside the boats as they surged up the river; at other times he photographed the crews as they approached him while he hung suspended from bridges spanning the rivers.

Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art operates private, by appointment exhibition spaces in New York and Philadelphia. The exhibition programs of the gallery are dedicated to presenting contemporary photo-based art, with a particular emphasis on work from the UK and young, emerging artists in the US. The gallery works closely with museums, corporations and major collectors around the world, and regularly publishes catalogues to accompany exhibitions. Peter Hay Halpert is also a Professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York, a Contributing Editor of AMERICAN PHOTO magazine, and a respected collector in his own right.