The National, by Claire Dight, November 17, 2016
A uniquely personal survey of three decades of modernist photography opened in London this week. The extraordinary collection of 200 vintage prints, now showing in The Radical Eye at Tate Modern, includes seminal works by leading figures experimenting in the form from 1917 to the 1950s – Brassai, Imogen Cunningham, André Kertész, Dorothea Lange, Tina Modotti and Aleksandr Rodchenko to name but a few.
The photographs all belong to the private collection of the pop star Elton John. In an interview to promote the exhibition, the British musician talks about his almost obsessive approach to collecting. He appears driven by two conflicting impulses: the desire to own iconic images by early pioneers, such as Man Ray’s Glass Tears 1932 and Underwater Swimmer, Hungary by André Kertész, and a fascination with social documentary photography that captures the human condition. An impressive array of portraits, such as Irving Penn’s portrait of Salvador Dalí, sits somewhere in between.