The work of one of America’s most important and influential contemporary photographers is being staged in West Yorkshire.

The exhibition of Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s work at The Hepworth gallery in Wakefield presents photographs from four decades of his career with more than 100 photographs from six major series on display.

Male prostitutes, unsuspecting passersby, pole-dancers and diCorcia’s own family members are among the hundreds of people featured in the six series of photographs.

Snapshot-like images belie the meticulous choreography of diCorcia’s compositions that draw out moments of psychological complexity in scenes of everyday life.

It is the first exhibition to present photography at The Hepworth Wakefield and is displayed across five gallery spaces.

The exhibition ranges from diCorcia’s earliest series, A Storybook Life (1975–1999) to his ongoing project, East of Eden (2008–present).

The photographs represent the unique way in which diCorcia negotiates the relationship between the staged and documentary photograph.

The seemingly spontaneous snapshots of everyday life belie the intricate staging of every detail in each photograph.

Often set in real locations, the lighting, subjects and arrangement are, in fact, carefully planned in advance, building the sense of heightened reality that characterises diCorcia’s images.

Philip-Lorca diCorcia's photo Tokyo 1998
Philip-Lorca diCorcia's photo Tokyo 1998

Hustlers (1990–1992) is one of diCorcia’s most iconic series featuring male prostitutes captured in various locations around Los Angeles and the backdrops are reminiscent of America film culture.

His two series, Streetwork (1993–1999) and Heads (2000–2001) frame unsuspecting passersby on the streets of New York through the use of hidden flash devices. These series in particular have brought into public debate the ethics of ‘street photography’ and reveal captivating insights with the subjects caught in unguarded moments of their daily life.

A Storybook Life (1975–1999) is presented in its entirety at The Hepworth Wakefield, consisting of 76 photographs of diverse narrative scenarios peopled by characters drawn from diCorcia’s own life.

Dramatically lit pole-dancers are the subject matter for his series Lucky 13 (2004). Suspended in time and space, diCorcia draws our attention away from the erotic and toward notions of sculptural form.

Born in 1951 in Hartford, Connecticut, diCorcia has been living and working in New York since the early 1980s.

Simon Wallis, director of The Hepworth Wakefield said: “It’s inspiring to see this important survey make its British debut in Yorkshire. We’re looking forward to developing our engagement with photography as an artform through presenting a major survey exhibition by one of America’s most significant and influential contemporary photographers.

“DiCorcia’s work continues to challenge our assumptions about the medium of photography in fascinating ways. It’s a timely moment to consider this ambitious body of work that contains so many memorable and arresting images.”

Admission is free to the Philip-Lorca diCorcia exhibition and collection displays. For full details of The Hepworth’s spring programme, including events and activities, visit or call 01924 247360.

Philip-Lorca diCorcia's photograph of pole-dancer Hannah in 2004
Philip-Lorca diCorcia's photograph of pole-dancer Hannah in 2004

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