A walk with Cornell Capa – Houston 1990′s

Posted by George on September 25th, 2007 in Exhibits, Opinion

I was visiting Fotofest in Houston in the 1990’s and bumped into Cornell Capa. We had both been “on the trail” during the Stevenson presidential campaigns of the 1950’s, and later he had asked me for some prints for the ICP collection which I donated rather ungraciously because I was broke.

Adlai Stevenson “The Egghead” NYC 1956
Adlai Stevenson “The Egghead” NYC 1956 ©George S. Zimbel 1956/2007

He suggested we go for a walk and along the way, asked “What do you do?” I was a bit shocked. Of course for a photographer the answer to the question “What do you do?” is: “Look at my photographs and you will know.” Maybe he meant what was I doing in Canada, but that’s not the way I took it. Sorry Cornell.

Photography doesn’t need written language to describe what it does. It can be viewed and appreciated ….or scorned, by anyone. It has been called a democratic art, usually by those who prefer elitist art, but I think the description is apt and I am happy with it.

I want to share what I have seen with anyone anywhere who wants to look. Of course millions of people can see photographs which are published and that is good, but the experience of looking at an exhibition of prints produced by a photographer is the purest way to look at the work, and I am honoured and excited each time I am asked to exhibit my work.

On the subject of exhibits, I organized and curated the first exhibition of the late B.H. “Jack” Turner, a retired farmer from Prince Edward Island Canada. He was 92, and amazed at the outpouring of interest. Then he was flabbergasted when I told him Confederation Centre Art Gallery & Museum had purchased four of his photo sculptures from WW1. ”There’s pictures everywhere if you can just see them.” he told me. He kept seeing them to age 100 and I hope I can do the same. Stay tuned.

George S. Zimbel
Montreal 2007


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