The Image as Question

Ahead of The Image as Question at Michael Hoppen Gallery, the gallerist himself talks us through a selection of pieces from the exhibition. In the days leading up to the opening on the 28th of September, we’ll hear about one image and why it made the final show. 

Gerald Chapman, the infamous bootlegger, singled out with the editor’s arrow - ANON. Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery.

Gerald Chapman was a notorious bootlegger who co-led an early anti-Prohibition gang with George ‘Dutch’ Anderson, in Chicago, from 1919 until the mid-1920s. The elegant mobster, surrounded by his henchmen, is captured here by an unknown press photographer. 

Editors would often highlight images with opaque paint to point out (rather too obviously in this case) who was the subject of the article. Time has passed since this picture was made but I still find it compelling and surreal. I remember finding this picture many years ago in America when we started looking for evidence photography. I love the editor’s arrow - just in case we were unsure who we should be focussing on. It’s a brilliant press photograph and could be from a James Cagney film.

— Michael Hoppen