Photographer William Dey’s tasty eye candy
Frango mints from Marshall Field, sweet and salty caramel/cheese Garrett popcorn, Mrs. Prindable’s candy apples. Fanny May chocolates, too.
Chicago boyhood treats inspire photographer William Dey’s contribution to the group exhibition, “A Feast for the Eyes,” curated by Karen and Tony Barone. The reception at UCR Palm Desert Center, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, is Jan. 28, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The show continues through March 12.
Saluting the tag line on the exhibit title, “Art of Enticement and Seduction through Food,” Dey enters three pictures featuring his muse, L.A. model Bridgham Leigh. She drips a seam of chocolate down her leg in one. In the others, she takes on the tasty personas of retro pin-up Bettie Page and Andy Warhol playmate Edie Sedgwick. A sexy elegance defines his oeuvre. When he does portraits, Dey says he thinks “old Hollywood with a modern twist.”
“Dey and Knight,” that’s what Karen Barone calls the Palm Springs photographer. On the brink of their third exhibit collaboration, she says “He saves the day…comes through with phenomenal images for any challenge I conjure up.”
A head start in style
William Dey started his career as a stylist very early. From about the age of 8, he acted as wardrobe consultant to his teenage sisters. His mother let him “rearrange furniture into little vignettes,” good training for the trade. Plus, the city kid had access to art museums to help refine his sensibility.
As a young adult, he worked with important photographers, notably fellow Chicagoan Victor Skrebneski. Associated with Elite Model Management, Dey met Cindy Crawford just as she was leaving to attain supermodeldom. But most of the assignments in the Windy City involved boring catalogs.
So he moved on to New York and into the world of high fashion. He learned lighting and other techniques from cameramen, who encouraged him to strike out on his own. Five years ago, he came to Palm Springs and officially became a photographer.
It’s worked out very well. In fact, arriving last month like a Christmas gift, was the news that One Kings Lane, the premiere home décor website, now offers his limited-edition prints. Happy, he says, “I will reach millions.” Dey is convinced that the Internet is the way to go for an artist to make a living.
Some favorite things
He loves the desert. He says that the landscape is like the surface of the moon, and that’s OK with him. And he loves cars, often shot in details, not the whole auto. The stairs of the Riviera Resort fascinate him. He shoots “things we walk by every day.” But fashion remains a primary obsession. He likes to have fun creating his own immaculate presentation. Currently he’s enjoying his cool platinum hair.
Besides the intriguing UCR Palm Desert show, Dey is in Atomic Art, a one-day exhibition during Modernism Week. It’s Sunday, Feb. 15, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Desert Art Center, 550 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs.
Randall Weidner, Palm Springs Art Museum Artists Council Coordinator and curator of the show, has this to say about William Dey: “He’s one of the valley’s most important photographers. His work is edgy and appropriate for our theme.”