The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait PhotographyLanguage, nudity
“A gentle-hearted gem, as profoundly subtle as it is subtly profound”
As her retirement looms, gifted photographer Elsa Dorfman invites Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris (The Fog of War, The Thin Blue Line) into her archives for an an intimate look at her amazing body of work.
Coming of age in the 1960s, a colleague presented Dorfman with a Hasselblad camera. Quickly declaring “I’m a photographer!”, she began documenting friends at the Grolier Book Shop in Harvard Square — including writers and luminaries like Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley, Robert Lowell and Charles Olson.
In the 1980s she found her true medium: the larger-than-life Polaroid Land 20x24 camera. For the next 35 years she captured the “surfaces” of those who visited her studio: Beat poets, rock stars and everyday families. Her approach to portraits has always been simple. Rather than searching the depths of her subject’s souls or “to take more than they’re willing to give” she set out to celebrate the people —their personalities, idiosyncrasies and everyday triumphs. “Life,” Dorfman says, “is hard enough. You don’t need to walk around with a picture of it.”
What results is a charming show-and-tell as she shares the stories behind her photographs, and her spontaneous musings on life.
“I think one thing about having all the pictures,” she says, “is you sort of search for the narrative. But there probably is no narrative. It’s just what happened. It doesn’t go by a script.”
Join us for a special screening of The B-Side featuring a video introduction from director Errol Morris and a post-screening Q&A between journalist Rachael Brown and producer Robert Fernandez on Tuesday 6 March at 6.30pm.
Robert Fernandez is CEO/Co-Owner of Moxie Pictures and executive producer of Dina, Alphago, The B-Side and Netflix series Wormwood. He has worked with Errol Morris for the last 20 years.
Rachael Brown is a broadcast journalist with over 15 years experience at the ABC. She is the creator, investigator and host of Trace, the Walkley Award-winning true crime podcast.