The exhibition of 65 famous photographs ‘Stars Between Heaven and Earth. The Fleeting Glimpses’ opens on 8th June in the exhibition hall of The Kramskoy museum of Fine Arts. The main part of the exhibition ‘Stars Between Heaven and Earth. 1955 – 1971’ consists of Air France collection named ‘The Gallery of Celebrities’. The photographs which form it have been exhibited all over the world and they still have a great success.
France in the 1950s is the time of DC3, DC4, Breguet 2 points, Constellation and Super Constellation planes, the golden age of big propliners and real airships. Air France opened with a formal ceremony its new air terminal in Orly in 1956 and the company had an idea to use their world-famous passengers to attract the attention of a wider public circle. So this way the project of creating “The Gallery of Celebrities’ appeared and It has become a distinctive esthetic and cultural- historical evidence of the epoch of propliners.
The photosessions started in 1955. The Air France company asked the ‘Telephoto’ agency to give them a photographer to shoot celebrities, actors, scientists, artists and politicians who were using Orly airport. Roland Briens, who started his career as Sam Levin’s assistant, held that position during 10 years and he welcomed the stars at the boarding ramp with his Rolleiflex and double flash. Thanks to his courtesy, delicacy and ability to deal with people all the celebrities willingly agreed to be shot. With the same success the other photographers worked till 1971: Hassia, Philippe Formaison, Claude Agostini, Philippe Briat, Jean Gueneux.
The photographers were allowed to do what is hard to imagine to be done now: they could come up on a traffic control tower and watch the movements of the airplanes on the taxiway, ask to stop the plane at the end of the runway to come up on board and shoot the great Maria Callas just before she was met by a crowd of photographers at the boarding ramp.
Marlene Dietrich and Charles Aznavour, Marlon Brando and Jean Mare, Audrey Hepburn and the princess of Monaco Grace Kelly… Each of these photos has its own history but they are united by the constant boarding ramp and board of an Air France liner in them.
To create the spirit and atmosphere of the flights of those days and to remind about the way which the civil aviation has made since its creation, portrait photos are supplemented with shots from ‘The Fleeting Glimpses’ collection, which is presented by the department of Historical and Cultural heritage of the Air France company. This part of the exhibition consists of the photos of 1929 – 1950. The visitors will be given an opportunity to watch the chronics of the first years of the civil aviation which is full of adventures and unusual situations, to see the destinies of famous people and unknown passengers intertwined by the chronicles of the development of the aviation.
The organizers of the project are Air France, the French Council in Russia, the French Institute in Russia and the net Alliance Française in Russia. The project is supported by the TNT express company.