Their faces are deeply lined, weathered but enduring, much as the mountains that they’ve climbed.
They display no joy, no fear, only a calm self-assurance, captured in penetrating portraits that meld the artist with the adventurer.
The works on display for the first time in the Hanson Dodge Creative studio represent “The Legends of Climbing,” Jim Herrington’s photographic insight into some of the world’s most accomplished rock climbers and mountaineers. Among them: Royal Robbins, Jules Eichorn, Jim Whittaker, Yvon Chouinard and Don Lauria.
Herrington photographed them off the mountain, at rest, far-removed from their dozens of first ascents. Even still, their hands seem powerful, ready to clutch rock or rope.
The exhibit in the Mercantile Building, 220 E. Buffalo St., came about through Herrington’s three-month visit to Milwaukee and friendship with Ken Hanson, the agency’s CEO and Chief Creative Officer. The portraits fit the Hanson Dodge niche as brand builder for active lifestyle companies.
“Jim’s work captures the rugged individuality that inspires today’s athletes, and he does it with the kind of authenticity, insight and inspiration that we strive for in our work as well,” Hanson said.
In addition to the fifteen climber portraits, the exhibit features 10 portraits of legendary musicians, Keith Richards, Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton.
All of them show the photographic talents that Herrington has developed since his teenage years in North Carolina.
“He has a kind of artistic integrity,” Hanson said. “He really is able to cut through that veneer. Quite honestly, the people look interesting. They don’t always look great. They are provocative.”
The opening is timed coincidentally with the spring Gallery Night and Day, hosted by the Historic Third Ward Association.
Following the opening reception - from 5 p.m to 9 p.m. Friday - Hanson Dodge will display the exhibit through July 15.
Click here for a slideshow of the legends.