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Phil Stern, Robert Zuckerman Collaborate on Hollywood Art Show

"Counterparts," a new exhibit from the Phil Stern Gallery, juxtaposes the work of the two famed photographers who captured stars such as Will Smith, Robert Redford, Brittany Murphy and Marilyn Monroe.
Michael Chiklis and Robert Zuckerman

"Counterparts" tells "a Hollywood story," according to photographer Robert Zuckerman, who collaborated with renowned 93-year-old shooter Phil Stern on a new celebrity-portrait exhibit.  

At the Phil Stern gallery, a young Brittany Murphy is positioned next to Marilyn Monroe, both actresses who tragically lost their lives too soon. A stoic-looking Will Smith serves as the perfect mirror to Robert Redford, both in terms of physical position and solemn expression.  

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"Even though there's a 40-to-50 year gap in some of these photos, [the exhibit] points to the timelessness, and how photography transcends time," Zuckerman said. 

The show juxtaposes older works from Stern and more contemporary photographs from 57-year-old Zuckerman in an effort to draw connections between Hollywood, then and now. Stern has a legacy that rivals the stars that he's photographed over a decades-long career: The photographer -- whose career stretches back to the '30s -- has shot Old Hollywood legends including Frank Sinatra, James Dean and Bette Davis. During his lifelong friendship with John Wayne, Stern captured intimate portraits of the actor from before World War II through the '70s.

The exhibit's juxtapositions also extend to leading men. There's a Zuckerman shot of modern great Michael Chiklis, an Emmy winner for The Shield, flanking a photo by Stern of the legendary Humphrey Bogart.

"I feel particularly flattered to be sandwiched between Bogie and James Dean — talk about things you never thought you'd see," says Chiklis, a long-time friend to Zuck, as he endearingly calls him.  

"This is a person who makes photographs, he doesn't take photographs," said the actor of Zuckerman.   

Zuckerman has a long history of working as a set photographer (Transformers, The Shield) in the film and television industry. While Zuckerman was working on Unstoppable, assistant costume designer Courtney Stern recommended the photographer to the gallery's director, Peter Stern, and curator, Ashley Stern. Courtney and Ashley are Stern's granddaughters, and Peter is his son.   

What was originally meant to be a solo show for Zuckerman, turned into this dual exhibition. Zuckerman said he couldn't be more honored: "In a hundred or even a thousand years, people will be able to look back at his body of work and really learn something. He was an important part of Hollywood history. He created so many iconic images."

The Phil Stern Gallery is located at 601 S. Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA 90014. "Counterparts" runs through Nov. 7.  

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