Joseph Pilates, Exercise Pioneer
‘Joseph Pilates, Exercise Pioneer’ An Exhibition Of Photographs
Now Receiving Its World Premiere At Pilates Central
Many people are not aware that Pilates, the popular technique of exercise and body-conditioning, takes its name from a person: Joseph Pilates, the German-born emigré to Britain and then America, who devised it as a new approach to exercise and body-conditioning in the early decades of the last century.
A lot more people, however, now have the chance to learn of the fact, thanks to exhibition of unique photographs of Joseph Pilates, shown at work in the world’s first Pilates Studio.
‘Joseph Pilates, Exercise Pioneer’, is the name of the exhibition showcasing photographs of Pilates, taken in 1961 by I.C. ‘Chuck’ Rapoport, a star photojournalist for Paris-Match (New York Bureau), The Saturday Evening Post, LIFE, TIME, National Geographic and other magazines in the 1960s heyday of photo-journalism.
Rapoport’s assignments for Paris Match alone included photographing JF Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Eva Gabor, Tina Onassis, the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan, Fidel Castro, Samuel Beckett and Francois Truffaut, and many more. His cover photo of Jackie Kennedy on the now classic ‘JFK funeral issue’ of Paris Match was seen around the world.
In October 1961, while still a young photographer, he was sent by Sports Illustrated magazine to photograph Joseph Pilates, a German-born inventor of a new form of exercise, then known as ‘Contrology’, but nowadays known as ‘Pilates’. Rapoport photographed Pilates, then 80, in his New York exercise studio located in a second-floor space on 8th Avenue in New York.
The stylish black-and-white photographs of Joe Pilates taken by Rapoport are, as far as is known, the only magazine-quality photographs of Joseph Pilates ever taken, and the only ones still in existence.
The exhibition at Pilates Central comprises the first time that they have been assembled for display in a single exhibition. The exhibition has received not just national but international media attention.
It is, in fact, one of two exhibitions of Rapoport’s photographs taking place in the UK this year. The National Library in Wales has been staging ‘ABERFAN: The Days After’, a major exhibition of Rapoport’s photographs from Aberfan, taken immediately after the disaster in 1966. These photographs first appeared as 14 pages in LIFE magazine and then in a major exhibition in New York in 1967.
As the picture magazines began to die out Rapoport switched to a new career as a Hollywood screenwriter. He became an award-winning screenwriter, mainly writing for television.
Now in his sixties, he lives in Pacific Palisades, California with his wife, Mary. When he is not writing for television or working on his autobiography, My Life as a Photojournalist, he studies Krav Maga self-defence techniques four times a week.
- ‘Joseph Pilates, Exercise Pioneer’, runs at Pilates Central until further notice.
- High-quality prints of these and other photographs from the exhibition, signed by I.C. Rapoport, are on sale to the public.