Sunday, December 06, 2009

Monroe Gallery of Photography, Santa Fe

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

These are Michelle and Sidney Monroe, owners of the Monroe Gallery of Photography at 112 Don Gaspar, in Santa Fe.

It features post World War II photojournalism; mostly from the age of the weekly photo magazine; the LIFE and LOOK era.

Visiting the gallery and its 10 to 12 exhibitions each year visitors view a chronicle of recent history through the lenses of some of the most prominent photojournalists of the last 65 years.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

As is my practice, those who make it to my blog roll, right, do so only after having had a post written about them. These are the sites I read and recommend to my readers.

In this case, Sidney started it.

In the background of the host of this site, Blogger, there is a section that indicates people who regularly follow your work. Monroe Gallery of Photography is one such follower.

He also is a good editor of the art and photographic scene. He has his twitter site on his blogspot and it is worth following.

I was first introduced to Monroe’s through a University Art Studio class visit in 2002.

The gallery had moved from lower Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Though blocks away, their gallery was within what Sidney called “the zone,” the area that was without power for months following the attacks.

The Monroes knew Santa Fe and moved after 20 years in New York City.

The Monroes backgrounds as art curators stem from their work: Sidney is the economics end the business, who says he is not photographically inclined, he was the retail manager for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Michelle worked at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Senior Life magazine photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt turned to the Monroes to assemble his first exhibition and then to represent the sale of his work, above.

Over the years the Monroes came to know many of the photojournalists of the 20th and now 21st century whom they would go on to represent.

The gallery is a continuously changing museum of history.
This weekend they brought in Neil Leifer, left, the renowned photojournalist, possibly best known for his years of work at Sports Illustrated, for a book signing event.

I always knew I was not a sports photographer by simply looking at Leifer’s work.

Leifer’s biography is about a young man with great eye, timing, and a true understanding of sports.

One of his favorite subjects was Muhammad Ali, me too. I shot Ali, above, while he was banned from fighting.

Saturday afternoon I went to the book signing and ran into one of the biggest sports fans in New Mexico, Governor Bill Richardson. He owns a copy of the photo of Ali taunting Sonny Liston after knocking him out in their rematch. The print was a birthday gift from political friends and staff according to New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs Secretary Stuart Ashman, who was also present.

Richardson dominated the conversation, yet no one seemed to have any complaint because the Governor drew out stories about historic sporting events.

Leifer turned the tables when he challenged Richardson to identify some of the men in the photo of President John Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon Johnson during an opening game at a Washington Senators' baseball game. For the ultimate sports and political fan, Richardson was unable to aid Leifer in trying to identify the unknown people in the Presidential box.

I recognized some, but they were the major political figures of the day from Capitol Hill. Leifer believes the unknown men to have been Baseball Commission officials.

The early 1960s is a long time ago. I was still playing little league. Richardson was already playing school ball. The Governor bought a copy of Leifer's book, Ballet In The Dirt: The Golden Age Of Baseball.

As much as I appreciate Leifer’s work, I can’t afford an original, a book or two, yes. However, Leifer asked that I send a picture of him with the Governor, so he has an MGB original.

1 comment:

Elise Walker said...

Sounds like an interesting man. He looks very lively in the pictures.