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Marbella Eye on Richard Franklin

Who is Richard Franklin?

Photographer, artist, play maker and charming bachelor living in  Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles.

Franklin is a sophisticated Englishman with a privileged background. Son of an investment banker and Jewish mother, he grew up in the protected “old world” environment that only certain parts of Britain still retain. He started off in the family banking business but later decided that he wanted to do something  that he enjoyed and got into the world of music, theater and art. He traveled the Atlantic and ended up in Los Angeles. Most of you that have heard of him, probably know him as the amazing glamour photographer that  photograph models that are 6 feet tall and with a bodies of amazonian warriors, preferably of African heritage, but there is an abyssal depth to his personality…

When Shahed of Kasser Rassu called me up this morning to ask if I wanted to do an interview with Richard Franklin who is exhibiting in the Gallery, I immediately said yes. Luckily I knew what I wrote above… I knew he wasn’t the other Richard Franklin, the director of the movie Phycho II, which would have made me hesitate in meeting him.

We had lunch at the new, trendy Gourmet Deli, opposite the Marbella Club, next to Kasser Rassu Gallery. Franklin, who is a very entertaining and charming character initiated the conversation by talking about his youth as a very sheltered young man in London. To give a point into exactly how blinkered his life had been, he exclaimed “I had never seen a black person until I was thirty” And from that, we covered almost every subject from fashion to child adoption to religion, philosophy and history to Cervantes and much more. Franklin is a man who is well worth having a chat to if you ever were to meet up with him!

Bringing the subject back to his artistic work I asked him what he wants to express with his photos and what it is that drives him…

Franklin: It’s never what it seems at first glance. The photos are a product of my mind, there is always a thought behind the pose or the theme… Often with historical reference. When I first came to the United States I realised that there was a huge flaw in the educational system and I set about (a bit like Don Quijote) trying to help educate the Americans in the subject of value. History plays a big part in that. If we don’t take an interest in history we don’t know what is wrong or right. By looking at the past we can learn for the future. Seeing the mistakes other cultures, countries and people have made and create values for our families, school system and state. I produced plays of historical and religious value, partly because I have a huge interest in those subjects, but also because the educational value is great for both young and old.

Then I got into photography! I grabbed a camera and started taking pictures. I didn’t know anything about photography then, but I had a great interest and that’s how it all began. Like when I did the plays I want my artistic photographic work to have a message to the viewer. I love to work with lighting and costume and I always have my own idea about how it’s going to turn out. If the viewer can see the message “Chapeau!”

Read more about Richard Franklin’s exhibition in Kasser Rassu Gallery in Marbella Eye soon.

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