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Kary H. Lasch

The Golden Years

©Kary H. Lasch, Salvador Dali, Port Lligat, Catalonia, Spain.
©Kary H. Lasch, Salvador Dali, Port Lligat, Catalonia, Spain.

This exhibition is a window into the world of photographer, collector and madcap Kary H. Lasch (1914–1993) and the golden years around the 1950s. The exhibition shows his classic photographs of Pablo Picasso, Sophia Loren, Salvador Dalí, Brigitte Bardot and other A-list celebrities, but the focus is perhaps more on the zeitgeist and atmosphere he so immortalized.

The exhibition features around 75 photos from Kary H. Lasch's collection, as well as selected personal items.

The exclusive opening of the "The Golden Years" exhibition will take place on April 19 at 6 PM with a special ticket. The exhibition is open with regular museum ticket starting from April 20.

On April 20 at 3 PM, there will be a special tour with the close friend of the photographer. Michel Hjorth, one of the owners of the Kary H. Lasch archive, his personal friend, a graphic designer, and photographer, will be in Tallinn for the opening of the "Golden Age" exhibition and will meet with the Estonian audience to talk more about the exhibition and Kary herself.

Kary Herman Lasch – A maestro of life

Fearless and open-minded, he fought for the moments he wanted to capture, which lead to many of his photos becoming the covers of major international magazines. He began taking photos from a young age, and his childhood city of Prague fed his fascination for architecture and cityscapes while leading him to the language of photography. Kary felt an affinity for photographers as diverse as Erwin Blumenfeld, Philippe Halsman, Elliott Erwitt, and Weegee. Like Erwitt, he took a humorous approach to his profession: serious when needed, cheerful and crazy when appropriate.

Kary’s energy could seem inexhaustible. He went to bed at three in the morning, slept only a couple of hours, and lived by the motto that he had no time to waste. “Vegetarian from birth” he would say, and as a nonsmoker and nondrinker, he was unusual for the circles he moved in.

He was a globetrotter who could be on the road for eight to ten months a year. And he had many interests, from fashion, sports cars, and art to industrial photography, to name a few. One of the many rumors about Kary’s antics and mischief says that he always traveled with a business card in his pocket on which Lufthansa’s CEO had written “Assist Kary Lasch with anything he could possibly need help with.”

The origin of the cosmopolitan rapscallion Kary H. Lasch

In addition to his native Czech, he was fluent in five more languages. Kary was educated at boarding schools in Switzerland, his family had a large house in Prague and belonged to high society, yet he himself was gifted with the ability to communicate across all levels of society. In 1938, he was vacationing in Sweden when the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia. Far from his family at the time, the Nazis murdered his mother, father, and brother. Now stateless, it was nine years before he would see his hometown again, a place forever changed. He remained in Sweden for the rest of his life. There are few, if any, traces in interviews and articles about him that would indicate the unfathomable pain he must have carried with him throughout life. It was so emotional that he avoided speaking of it publicly.

Anthony Steel and Anita Ekberg marry in Florence, 1956  ©Kary H. Lasch, Bridgemann Images
Anthony Steel and Anita Ekberg marry in Florence, 1956 ©Kary H. Lasch, Bridgemann Images

Cannes – A Love Story

The epicenter of Kary H. Lasch’s work was Cannes and the film festival, a living organism of superstars, directors, journalists, ad hoc celebrities, critics, and film distributors mixed with street performers and con artists, plus a layer of tourists from around the world.

The Cannes Film Festival began in 1946, and in the fifties it was still a place characterized by openness and a certain naivety, where you could still meet A-list celebrities on the streets and beaches. For Kary, Cannes was both a thirty-year long passion and a livelihood. It was in this environment where he really thrived and found adventure around every corner. He had a unique ability to scout out the rising stars and introduce them to the modeling and film industries. The annual festival attracted the world’s press with cameras focused on the celebrity love affairs. The competition among the photographers was intense, and it wasn’t uncommon to use tricks to get the best shot.

Exhibition "The Golden Years" was created in collaboration with the archive and photo collection of Kary H. Lasch, and curated by Lisa Giomar Hydén, the exhibition director of Fotografiska Stockholm, and Maarja Loorents, the exhibition director of Fotografiska Tallinn.

19 Apr 2024 - 18.00

Exhibition opening: Kary H. Lasch "The Golden Years"

Opening weekend

Book a spot
©Kary H. Lasch, Bridgemann Images. Sophia Loren on the night train to Stockholm, 1950s.

20 Apr 2024 - 15.00

New Exhibition: "The Golden Years" special tour with Kary's close friend

Opening weekend

Book a spot
Britt Ekland on the floor in the Kary H. Lasch studio, 1960s ©Kary H. Lasch, Bridgemann Images