Posted by George on December 8th, 2014 in Exhibits, Media, Opinion, Uncategorized
After all these years of making pictures, I am often asked “What is your favourite photograph? (Canadian spelling) The answer is always the same: It is “The Goose” Bronx 1958. It was made on an assignment for a New York Times story on the Teamsters Union. As so often happened this photograph was not used in the final story, but in those days and still, I sold only one time rights to my work and retained copyright.. probably more important, the image didn’t disappear into an electronic file. There were none then. It was put into an archival negative envelope with a star next to it. That meant “Pay attention to me!” and I did.
I think it was first exhibited on the bulletin board of Professional Camera Repair, Marty Forscher’s shop on West 47th Street. My idea was to share stuff I liked with the many colleagues who were in an out of this wondrous place. That was a sharing time.
You will probably think “What’s so special about that picture? Well, to me it incorporates everything that is important about photography.. capturing action, capturing a special moment, capturing life..you will notice I didn’t mention ART. That wasn’t important then. The wonder of reality was important.
In the late fifties I started doing serious projects for the U.S. Information Agency, including the County Agent Exhibition, The MIT Essay and The Atoms for Peace exhibition. I worked for Yoichi Okamoto the director of photography. He eventually became the official photographer for President Lyndon Johnson and in that post created an extraordinary visual narrative.
On the last day of the Johnson administration Oke wrote me a letter on White House Stationery. He told me that his favorite photograph, “The Goose, Bronx 1958″ hung on the wall in his office, just below the oval office. The reason was his wife wouldn’t have it hanging in their house!
“The Goose, Bronx 1958″ is now in the collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The International Center of Photography, NYC, & Musee d’art Contemporain de Montreal. There are a few prints available for sale, made and signed by me.
Posted by George on August 1st, 2014 in Uncategorized
Girl Among the Books ©George S. Zimbel 1969.2014
I have been photographing readers for over 60 years, but this is my favorite. I love children,I love books,… what more is there to say.
A note: I normally don’t go looking among my 8×10′s because I need larger prints for exhibitions, but on a recent summer day I went into one of my old 8/10 boxes and found this beautiful vintage print with Mrs. Monkmeyer’s writing on the back. I am harvesting my archive, so it is for sale. Contact me or one of my dealers for price and further details. I will include a signed copy of my “Le Livre des Lecteurs”/”Book of Readers” in the sale…george
Posted by George on July 28th, 2014 in Media, Opinion, Publications
Shot for Redbook Magazine Tay Sach’s story 1962. ©George Zimbel
I just lost another friend – Bob Stein the former editor of Redbook and McCalls Magazines. More important to me than these august jobs, he was a member of our floating poker club in New York in the 1950′s. The members were photographers Feingersh , Winogrand & Zimbel , the art director Alvin Grossman & the photo editor Sari Grossman. Bob always won, he was so good at everything. Noone ever got mad .
The last time we saw him was at the PBS party for the release of their Marilyn Monroe show. A guy came up behind me and whispered “It’s Bob”. I turned , recognized him, started crying and kissed him on the forehead in that order. We had communicated by email, but I hadn’t seen him for a very long time.
The mark of Bob’s editorship was an understanding of the important issues facing so called ordinary people. He realized that there are NO “ordinary people”. With this he transformed Redbook and McCalls and influenced all of the women’s magazines. Among the homemaker and fashion pieces he published serious articles about women’s issues and family issues.
I learned from his assignments that an “ordinary” subject could lead to seriously interesting photographs . He did not always agree with my choice but he explained why. He had his vision. He went by it.
To me, he was a great friend, a constant friend, and so, another missing friend.
30 30 30
Posted by George on April 29th, 2014 in Media, Opinion, Uncategorized
The Premie,Philadelphia General Hospital 1953 Vintage print by Zimbel on Dupont Varigam SG/DW paper. 9 3/8”x 7 3/8” Trimmed flush,signed au verso with stamps Condition :Good with slight abrasions on edges. [Logged later #3394)
At 6:30 this morning I started to think about vintage prints. I always considered the subject a commercial one. It lets photographers and their dealers charge more for a particular image. David Vestal in a column titled “Rare or Well Done?” discusses the issue of vintage and limited edition prints in his usual thoughtful and thorough manner. His conclusion was that that the age and rarity of the print has nothing to do with it’s beauty. The most beautiful print of a 50 year old image could have been made a few hours ago. I know. I have many negatives over 50 years old.
So I was wrong about vintage prints., It’s not about money, it’s about history. To my surprise accepting this thought made me change my mind and head to my vintage box from which I picked the above. I realised why vintage prints are important. It has to do with what an image looked like at the time it was made. Concepts of the good print change and this is all important from a historical viewpoint. Papers change, developers change..digimania is taking over. If it’s about photographic history the date of a print matters. If it’s about art, it doesn’t.
Some museums consider the historic critical for their collections…and then again, some do not. I once offered to make a larger print of an image that MOMA had chosen. The curator said “We have chosen this print of this image. This is print we want.” Contrast that to a request I got from another museum for a vintage print of “Irish Dancehall, The Bronx 1954. “We will only consider a vintage print.” Well, there is no vintage print of the photograph..the few I had printed burned in a fire at my studio. A print I made in the 1980’s is certainly better than my originals, but it will not go on their wall.
So where do I stand now? In my mind I agree that a vintage print should be more valuable; in my heart where my creative resides, I think the most magic print available should be more valuable.
These are the kinds of thoughts that torment an old photographer. There are no answers so I just keep working.
©2007- 2014 george zimbel
Posted by George on March 24th, 2014 in Uncategorized
Marilyn & Billy on Exhibit
Currently on Exhibition-Museum of Fine Arts, Houston[/caption]
Posted by George on January 28th, 2014 in Uncategorized
Posted by George on January 19th, 2014 in Exhibits, Media, Opinion, Publications
Yesterday I went online to witness a wondrous happening on YouTube. A top notch National Geographic photographer was demonstrating how he printed an entire exhibition of large prints. It only took an afternoon! To be fair he was working with superb scans made from his superb photographs on an awesome Epson printer. He could replicate those same prints with the same quality just by pushing a button!
I thought about working in my darkroom, printing from an excellent negative, and ending the day’s work with only one print that I would call “magic.” Of course the other keeper prints would be excellent as well, but the “magic” one is the one that works best for me. Often others disagree and choose another print from the same session – it’s “magic” for them, It’s a very personal choice.
I am printing less these days and only from negatives that I previously chose but never had time to print. Thinking about the magic of the digital age – just press the button – it’s a different kind of magic, and it’s a long way from my reality still.
In the coming months I will post some of these magic prints right here for you to see and collect if you are so inclined. As usual they will be available from me or any of my wonderful dealers… george
Posted by George on December 17th, 2013 in Media, Opinion, Uncategorized
The 3rd Ave El is long gone..I hope this little girl is still with us..she should be eligible for social security.
Posted by George on October 25th, 2013 in Exhibits, Media, Opinion, Publications
John F. Kennedy, Tammany Hall NYC 1959
©George S. Zimbel 1959/2013
Printed by gsz 20/16″/2001 Log # 3114
Posted by George on October 3rd, 2013 in Media, Opinion
Gail Levin & Dewald Aukema NYC 2006 © george s.zimbel
When I checked my email and found an invitation to a memorial service for Gail Levin I realized she was gone and immediately started to cry.
At 84 I have seen many of my colleagues leave this earth, but they don’t all bring tears… mostly they bring sadness. With Gail it was different and I have been trying to figure out why. We all knew she was smart. A visit to her apartment meant you had to wade through books..books everywhere..books in the living room..books in the kitchen..books books. But the books didn’t corrupt her warmth and humanity..they just meant that in any situation she could bring intelligence as well as warmth. But all this was mixed in with an energy that was always there.
When we returned to 52nd & Lexington Ave, the site of the blossoming white dress, to shoot a segment for Marilyn “Still Life” I became frustrated because I couldn’t relate that scene with what was in my pictures. The subway grate was the only visual anchor. I felt very confused. I said this to her and she said to me: ” Don’t worry, it’s great, we have that all on tape.”
WNET/Thirteen will rebroadcast American Masters: Marilyn Monroe: Still Life October 8th, 8-9PM
Directed by Gail Levin