(From Wikipedia, the
Les Krims is a
conceptualist photographer living in Buffalo, New York. He is noted for
his carefully arrange fabricated photographs (called "fictions"), various
candid series, a satirical edge, dark humor, and long-standing criticism
of what he describes as leftist twaddle.
Les Krims was born in Brooklyn, NY, on August 16, 1942. He studied at a
science high school (Stuyvesant High School, in NYC). Richard Ben-Veniste
("Benti," as he was called in home-room at Stuyvesant), famous for
prosecuting Richard Nixon, and A.D. Coleman, the former photography critic
for The New York Times, were two of Krims' Stuyvesant classmates. Krims
studied art at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art,
and Pratt Institute. For the last 39 years he has taught photography,
first at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and for the last 37 years
at Buffalo State College, where he is a professor in the Department of
Fine Arts. In describing his staged pictures, and the parodies of candid
journalistic propaganda photographs he makes, Krims said, "It is possible
to create any picture one imagines." Krims's latest project is a website (leskrims.com)
where he sells archival ink jet prints of a wide selection of his
pictures. Krims claims new digital printing technology and capitalism make
it possible to "own the means of production, rendering moot wall-to-wall
delusional Marxist posturing in the culture community."
Les Krims has published
numerous offset works. Two of these, "Fictcryptokrimsographs," and "Making
Chicken Soup" were published by Humpy Press, which he founded and
incorporated in the mid-1970s, and has since been dissolved. Krims has
also published original print portfolios such as, "Idiosyncratic
Pictures," and "Porsch Rainbows." Most recently (November 2005), a Photo
Poche monograph, "Les Krims," edited by Robert Delpire, with an
introduction by Bernard Noel, was published by Actes Sud, in France.
In The Little People of America (1971), Krims received permission to
photograph people belonging to a national organization founded by the
actor Billy Barty, called "The Little People of America. " Many of the
pictures were made at national conventions of the L.P.A, in Oakland, CA,
and Atlanta, GA. Krims sought to show that the people he photographed were
brave, normal people, having more in common with the Mid-West than the
Upper-West-Side, unlike the way the dwarf was portrayed in the history of
art or contemporary photographs.
In his portfolio The Deerslayers (1972), Krims took pictures of deer
hunters who had voluntarily stopped at "deer check stations" so that NYS
conservationists could examine the general health of the deer. Pictured
posing with their kills, Krims suggested the hunters had much in common
with performance art, and odd manifestations of sculpture. He also
attempted to underscore the American nature and long tradition of deer
hunting as one aspect of a criticism of animal rights and anti-Vietnam War
In The Incredible Case Of The Stack O'Wheat Murders (1972), Krims both
parodies forensic photography, and points to it as a remarkable archive of
incredible and moving images (the various, successful CSI television
series attests to his prescience). In each "Wheats" crime scene, a Stack
O'Wheats (pancakes) is placed near each "victim" (he used friends and
family to pose for the pictures). Each stack is topped with pats of butter
and syrup, the number of pancakes in the stack signifying the number of
the crime. Hershey's chocolate syrup was used to simulate blood in the
photos, which was formed into words and celestial shapes. Krims originally
included 8 ounces of Hershey's syrup in a heat sealed plastic bag with the
original print portfolio, as well as "enough pancake mix to make one
complete Stack O' Wheats".
In Making Chicken Soup (1972), Krims published pictures of his mother
preparing her traditional chicken soup recipe, while nude. These pictures
were published as a small book, some say giving rise years later to the
popular Chicken Soup series. The book contained a dedication, which
underscored the real point of the satire: "This book is dedicated to my
mother and concerned photographers, both make chicken soup." Krims felt
that "socially concerned" photography was a palliative, just as chicken
soup was—in the long run, an ineffective remedy for serious disease.
In Fictocryptokrimsographs, published in 1975, Krims used a Polaroid SX-70
camera to make a series of 40, titled pictures. The SX-70 was chosen,
because of the ability to literally move and work the not yet dry,
viscous, film emulsion much like paint after the picture developed.
Included are various odd and humorous pictures, which are often puns or
parodies of fashion trends.
Krims has also steadily been adding pictures to an overarching project
spanning three decades called, "The Decline of the Left."
He is sometimes displayed in exhibition in the U.S. and internationally.
In 2004, he had a two-month exhibition at Laurence Miller Gallery in NYC
titled "Fictions 1969-1974". In 2007, he had a retrospective at Galerie
Baudoin Lebon in Paris and has been part of a dozen other group
exhibitions of photography in the years 2000-2007 with others planned.In
1971, a young boy was kidnapped in Memphis, Tennessee. The ransom
requested for his return was the removal of Les Krims's photographs then
on exhibition in Memphis. Krims' pictures were removed and the boy was
released unharmed. A few years later, Light Gallery, in New York City,
published an original print portfolio containing the Krims photographs on
view at that exhibition. Light Gallery titled the portfolio, "The Only
Photographs in the World to Ever Cause a Kidnapping." Krims had nothing to
do with the kidnapping.
Krims has been criticized by some anti-porn feminists and feminist
photographers as being fetishistic, objectifying, body despising and a
misogynist who uses his photography to humiliate predominantly women. Even
though Krims does include men (often himself, nude) in his photos, these
critics contend that his primary viciousness is reserved for women.
However, Krims displays captions with his images that place the work in
On March 31, 1980, anti-porn activist Nikki Craft destroyed a portfolio of
"The Incredible Case Of The Stack O'Wheat Murders," belonging to a
library, by tearing the pictures to pieces and pouring chocolate syrup
over them. Craft faced felony conspiracy and malicious mischief charges at
University of California, Santa Cruz. However charges were later dismissed
and she was nominated for a chancellor's award by her arresting officer,
the provost of her college (the then mayor of Santa Cruz) and hundreds of
students. Craft maintained that her action was a work of art and an act of
disobedience and was not an act of censorship because it resulted in more
discussion about the prints. Several months later, after a community
dialog in the media and art national art journals, she donated an exact
duplicate set of prints back to the Special Collections Dept of the UCSC
library where it remains to this day.