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POP GOES CORKERY

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You can practically hear the film advancing and bulb-popping of paparazzi when looking at "Celebrity Moments: The Work of Daily News Photographer Richard Corkery," the latest exhibition of photographs in Long Island University’s new Humanities Building Gallery.

The photos on display range from the blatantly exploitative (such as shots of Barbara Bush dirty dancing at Club Sette VII and 18-year-old John F Kennedy Jr. falling to the ground after an altercation with a photographer) to poignant shots of a retiring Luciano Pavarotti dabbing his eyes on the Metropolitan Opera House stage’s curtain as he leaves the stage for the last time; Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox embracing at a Parkinson’s disease research fundraiser; and a wistful Richard Nixon stirring his cup of coffee in a Manhattan diner in 1980.

Corkery’s photos, which hang on a maze of suspended frosted glass panels, reveal the photographer’s tenacity as much as other photograph­ers’ shots of him at work, fearlessly lacing up skates to shoot Jessica Lang at Rockefeller Center’s rink or allowing Tom Cruise, who had become irritated by Corkery, to handle his camera and turn the lens on him.

The most revealing aspect of the exhibition, however, are Corkery’s captions, written with Paola Curcio-Kleinman, in which he explains, with unflattering honesty, how the shots had come to be.

About JFK, Jr., flailing as he falls to the ground at the end of a night celebrating his 18th birthday, Corkery says, "When all was said and done, it might have been better for John to pose rather than to be caught by me in this embarrassing situation."

At the Jan. 5 opening reception, Corkery’s publicist told GO Brooklyn that the photojournalist is now assembling a book of his work.

"Celebrity Moments" is on display though Jan. 27 at the Humanities Building Gallery in Long Island University, at the junction of Flatbush Avenue Extension and DeKalb Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 6 pm and weekends from 11 am to 5 pm. For information, call (718) 488-1198.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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