Hatami (1928-2017). Classic Films of the 1960s Vintage Photographs

Westwood Gallery NYC

Dec. 14, 2024 - Feb. 2, 2019

262 Bowery
New York, 10012
PHONE 212.925.5700


New York, NY – WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC is pleased to present an exhibition of vintage photographs of legendary 1960s film sets by photographer Hatami (1928-2011), curated by James Cavello. Photographs on view include behind-the-scenes images from Rosemary’s Baby, 1968 (director Roman Polanski), Bullitt, 1968 (director Peter Yates), A Countess from Hong Kong, 1967 (director Charlie Chaplin), and Doctor Zhivago, 1965 (director David Lean).

Hatami (1928-2017) – known primarily by his last name – started his sixty-year career as a writer in the 1950s for a newspaper in Tehran. Due to short staffing, the Editor required he also use his journalistic skills to photograph unfolding political events. Hatami’s keen eye and assertive nature allowed him to capture decades of historic photos of political, cultural and social events spanning from the Middle East to Europe and Hollywood to New York City. His early photojournalism included covering Israel as a new state, the coronation of King Hussein of Jordan in 1952, President Nassar and the Egyptian Revolution, the Suez crisis in 1956 and later the exile of the Shah of Iran.

In the 60s, far removed from political coverage, Hatami was invited on movie sets to document films and photograph the actors and the directors in their creative process. His interest in the entertainment world led him to capture a variety of subjects such as The Beatles at the beginning of their career, Johnny Hallyday, Woody Allen, Françoise Sagan, Catherine Deneuve, Faye Dunaway, Marlene Dietrich, Gina Lollobrigida, Romy Schneider, Jean-Luc Godard and many others. Hatami was also a personal friend of Mlle Coco Chanel, whom he photographed extensively in her private apartment, while she entertained or created fashion, between 1962 and 1969. In 1979, Hatami documented the Iranian revolution from the return of the Ayatollah Khomeini to the hostage crisis – a curated selection was exhibited at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs, on the 25th anniversary of the event.

In addition to his photographic contribution for hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles, his work graced the covers of LIFE magazine, LOOK, Newsweek, Paris-Match, Jours de France, Vogue and fourteen covers of ELLE. Hatami’s photographic work is recognized worldwide for its true commitment to photojournalism and is registered with the Library of Congress.


In the late 60s, Roman Polanski directed and wrote the 1968 Rosemary’s Baby. The film dramatized psychological terror and supernatural horror through the chilling story of Rosemary (Mia Farrow), her husband (John Cassavetes), and the occult. Filmed in The Dakota Building, it instantly became a classic of its genre. The film was nominated for best screenplay and Ruth Gordon won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

The romantic epic, Doctor Zhivago, based on the Boris Pasternak novel that shifted the perception of Soviet Russia in the West, was turned into a major production in 1965. Hatami photographed the director David Lean and the film’s theme of the love between Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif) and Lara Antipova (Julie Christie) amidst World War I, the Soviet Revolution and the pursuant Russian Civil War. Photographs on view include Omar Sharif and Geraldine Chaplin warming up from their scenes in the harsh Finnish tundra and David Lean rehearsing in the snow. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won five.

In 1968, Peter Yates released his San Francisco cop thriller Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn, and Jaqueline Bisset. The film won an Academy Award for Best Film Editing, especially considering the scenes from the highly charged car chase through the streets of San Francisco. Photographs on exhibit show personal moments on and off set between the film stars, who also became close personal friends.

During the same time, Charlie Chaplin wrote and directed his last film in the UK – the 1967 comedy A Countess from Hong Kong. Starring Marlon Brando, Sophia Loren, Sydney Chaplin, Tippi Hedren and Chaplin himself, the film recounts the tale of an American diplomat who leaves Hong Kong via ship and discovers a stowaway in his stateroom. Charlie Chaplin and Sophia Loren can be seen in photographs tête-à-tête, as well as Chaplin conducting his own music score and rehearsing scenes with Brando.

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