At the time of his tragic and untimely death in 2016, at just 27 years old, actor Anton Yelchin was revered for his roles in major films, including Star Trek, Terminator: Salvation, and Like Crazy.
But little did Yelchin’s legions of fans know that, for years, he had been pursuing a second career as a photographer, documenting a variety of subjects that range from compelling shots of complete strangers to intimate portraits of friends and peers. Yelchin used both Leica and disposable cameras while eschewing digital photography methods.
The fruits of Yelchin’s passion are currently on view at De Buck Gallery in Chelsea (through January 20). The artist’s portion of the show’s sale proceeds will be donated to the Anton Yelchin Foundation, an organization founded by the late actor’s parents, Victor and Irina, and dedicated to helping artists who face career challenges due to debilitating disease or disability.
Several of Yelchin’s former co-stars and friends attended the December 13 opening night reception, including Kristen Stewart, Bryce Dallas Howard, and designer Christian Siriano.
“Anton Yelchin: Provocative Beauty” was co-curated by Clayton Calvert, who became involved through his friendship with the actor’s former publicist Sara Planco and by De Buck’s managing director Rachel Vancelette. Though neither Calvert or Vancelette knew Yelchin personally, poring over his images for the show felt like a revelation, they said.
“Anton’s work is a rare and personal glimpse into an extraordinary life,” Calvert told artnet News. “The honest lens with which he captures each image enables a deep connection between the viewer, subject, and photographer.”
Yelchin’s photography “evokes a wide range of emotions throughout the exhibition,” said Vancelette. “As a curator, you only hope that the vision you have for hanging the work speaks to the artist intentions and provide an insight into his process itself.”
Vancelette said stories about individual works from the artist’s family and friends continue to unfold, “which creates an amazing oral history.” Fifty-three photos were selected for the show.
Yelchin died suddenly in June 2016 when his Jeep Cherokee rolled down the driveway of his Los Angeles home and fatally hit him near a security fence.
Calling Yelchin an “extraordinary talent,” gallery owner David De Buck said the show offers “a unique and intimate peek into his world.”