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Sally Stackhouse

Jose Limon, Louis Falco & Sally Stackhouse in 'Choreographic Offering'
By Jack Mitchell
Located in Senoia, GA
8 x 10" vintage silver gelatin photograph of dancer/choreographer Jose Limon, Louis Falco & Sally

1960s Pop Art Black and White Photography


Silver Gelatin

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Jack Mitchell for sale on 1stDibs

Over his four-decade career, photographer Jack Mitchell chronicled the changing cultural landscape of mid- to late-20th-century America by capturing the greatest influencers and innovators in the performing and visual arts.

Mitchell, a master of lighting patterns in photography who had his first portrait published at the age of 15, organized more than 5,400 photographic sessions in his lifetime involving a list of sitters that is as astounding as it is long. A veritable roll call of heroes and idols, his studio guests include painters, dancers, actors, comedians, singers, composers, directors, writers, impresarios and anyone else who helped shape the zeitgeist.

During World War II, when he was only 16 years old, Mitchell photographed Veronica Lake for a Daytona newspaper. It was his first celebrity gig, but that didn’t stop the audacious wunderkind from asking the actress to sweep back her signature “peekaboo” locks so he could get her full face in the frame. Lake, who was in Florida to help the war effort and at the peak of her career, politely obliged, and the two later became lifelong friends.

Mitchell, who was openly gay (his long-term partner and manager, Robert Plavik, died in 2009), also struck up a close relationship with Gloria Swanson. From 1960 to 1970, he served as her personal paparazzo, snapping a variety of “candid” shots of the aging but eternally glamorous actress as if she were a pre-mobile/pre-social-media reality star.

The diverse publications in which Mitchell’s work has appeared — in addition to the New York Times, there’s Rolling Stone, Dance Magazine, People, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Time, Harper’s Bazaar and Newsweek — testify to the power of his arresting visual language and its ability to transcend themes and disciplines.

Mitchell also famously shot a series of intimate portraits of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in November 1980, just one month before the Beatles singer was assassinated. A picture from this session became the cover of People’s memorial issue, one of the magazine’s best-selling editions to date.

The showbiz gloss should not distract from Mitchell’s meticulous approach to photography. He insisted on producing his own prints in order to achieve what he deemed museum-quality patina and definition.

“Jack shot many rolls of black-and-white film, and always some color transparencies, of every famous person he photographed,” says Craig Highberger, a friend of the late photographer and the executive director of the Jack Mitchell Archives.

In the world of dance, the field for which Mitchell is best known, his striking and incisive shots of legendary performers and choreographers reflect the visceral energy that these luminaries introduced to the discipline in the 1960s and ’70s, widely considered the Golden Age of American dance theater.

“Jack’s photographs of dancers during his lifetime are a historic chronicle of an amazing period in dance history. He was Alvin Ailey’s dance company photographer from 1961 to 1994,” says Highberger, noting that Mitchell’s collection of 10,000 black-and-white Ailey prints now belongs to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Mitchell’s dance images are at once ethereal and powerfully dynamic. Not only do they evoke movement through elegant poses and disciplined muscular tension, but they also convey an intimate energy radiating directly from his subjects, as if he had magically unlocked a reflective mood or a character trait, without contrivance.

The collection of authentic Jack Mitchell photography on 1stDibs includes his black and white photography, color photography, nude photography and more.

A Close Look at pop-art Art

Perhaps one of the most influential contemporary art movements, Pop art emerged in the 1950s. In stark contrast to traditional artistic practice, its practitioners drew on imagery from popular culture — comic books, advertising, product packaging and other commercial media — to create original Pop art paintings, prints and sculptures that celebrated ordinary life in the most literal way.



  • Bold imagery
  • Bright, vivid colors
  • Straightforward concepts
  • Engagement with popular culture 
  • Incorporation of everyday objects from advertisements, cartoons, comic books and other popular mass media



The Pop art movement started in the United Kingdom as a reaction, both positive and critical, to the period’s consumerism. Its goal was to put popular culture on the same level as so-called high culture.

Richard Hamilton’s 1956 collage Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? is widely believed to have kickstarted this unconventional new style.

Pop art works are distinguished by their bold imagery, bright colors and seemingly commonplace subject matter. Practitioners sought to challenge the status quo, breaking with the perceived elitism of the previously dominant Abstract Expressionism and making statements about current events. Other key characteristics of Pop art include appropriation of imagery and techniques from popular and commercial culture; use of different media and formats; repetition in imagery and iconography; incorporation of mundane objects from advertisements, cartoons and other popular media; hard edges; and ironic and witty treatment of subject matter.

Although British artists launched the movement, they were soon overshadowed by their American counterparts. Pop art is perhaps most closely identified with American Pop artist Andy Warhol, whose clever appropriation of motifs and images helped to transform the artistic style into a lifestyle. Most of the best-known American artists associated with Pop art started in commercial art (Warhol made whimsical drawings as a hobby during his early years as a commercial illustrator), a background that helped them in merging high and popular culture.

Roy Lichtenstein was another prominent Pop artist that was active in the United States. Much like Warhol, Lichtenstein drew his subjects from print media, particularly comic strips, producing paintings and sculptures characterized by primary colors, bold outlines and halftone dots, elements appropriated from commercial printing. Recontextualizing a lowbrow image by importing it into a fine-art context was a trademark of his style. Neo-Pop artists like Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami further blurred the line between art and popular culture.

Pop art rose to prominence largely through the work of a handful of men creating works that were unemotional and distanced — in other words, stereotypically masculine. However, there were many important female Pop artists, such as Rosalyn Drexler, whose significant contributions to the movement are recognized today. Best known for her work as a playwright and novelist, Drexler also created paintings and collages embodying Pop art themes and stylistic features.

Read more about the history of Pop art and the style’s famous artists, and browse the collection of original Pop art paintings, prints, photography and other works for sale on 1stDibs.

Finding the Right black-white-photography for You

There’s a lot to love about black and white photography.

The unique and timeless quality of a black and white photograph accentuates any room. Some might argue that we’re naturally drawn to color photography because it’s the world we know best. This is a shared belief, particularly in the era of camera-phone photography, editing apps and the frenetic immediacy of sharing photos on social media. But when we look at black and white photography, we experience deep, rich shadows and tonal properties in a way that transfixes us. Composition and textures are crisp and engaging. We’re immediately drawn to the subjects of vintage street photography and continue to feel the emotional impact of decades-old photojournalism. The silhouettes of mountains in black and white landscape photography are particularly pronounced, while portrait photography and the skylines of urban cityscapes come to life in monochrome prints.

When decorating with fine photography, keep in mind that some color photographs may not be suitable for every space. However, you can be more daring with black and white photos. The gray tones are classic, sophisticated and generally introduce elegance to any corner of your home, which renders black and white prints amazingly versatile.

Black and white photography adapts to its surroundings like a chameleon might. A single large-scale black and white photograph above the sofa in your living room is going to work with any furniture style, and as some homeowners and designers today are working to introduce more muted tones and neutral palettes to dining rooms and bedrooms, the integration of black and white photography — a hallmark of minimalist decor — is a particularly natural choice for such a setting.

Another advantage to bringing black and white photography into your home is that you can style walls and add depth and character without worrying about disrupting an existing color scheme. Black and white photographs actually harmonize well with accent colors such as yellow, red and green. Your provocative Memphis Group lighting and bold Pierre Paulin seating will pair nicely with the black and white fine nude photography you’ve curated over the years.

Black and white photography also complements a variety of other art. Black and white photos pair well with drawings and etchings in monochromatic hues. They can also form part of specific color schemes. For example, you can place black and white prints in colored picture frames for a pop of color. And while there are no hard and fast rules, it’s best to keep black and white prints separate from color photographs. Color prints stand out in a room more than black and white prints do. Pairing them may detract attention from your black and white photography. Instead, dedicate separate walls or spaces to each.

Once you’ve selected the photography that best fits your space, you’ll need to decide how to hang the images. If you want to hang multiple photos, it’s essential to know how to arrange wall art. A proper arrangement can significantly enhance a living space.

On 1stDibs, explore a vast collection of compelling black and white photography by artists such as Mark Shaw, Jack Mitchell (a photographer you should know), Berenice Abbott and David Yarrow.