Monday, October 31, 2011

New Book: Jack Kennedy Elusive Hero Cover Photo by Mark Shaw

Cover Image

Library Journal

Matthews (Kennedy and Nixon), host of MSNBC's Hardball and former aide to the late Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, has come to know many JFK insiders. Here he uses to excellent effect his conversations and interviews with those officials and friends as he seeks the real John F. Kennedy, that "elusive man," as JFK's own wife called him. Using the first person as he seeks out a full portrait of JFK, Matthews gives us an eminently readable biography, following Kennedy through his sickly and less-than-happy youth, his wartime heroism, and his presidency during the most perilous years of the Cold War. Although Matthews's coverage of Kennedy's pre-presidential career and the 1960 election is nearly as long as that devoted to the presidency, his most significant conclusion is that Kennedy's decision not to invade Cuba in 1962 likely saved the world from nuclear annihilation and at the very least stopped Soviet premier Khrushchev from invading West Berlin. VERDICT Robert Dallek's An Unfinished Life and Richard Reeves's President Kennedy provide in-depth investigations of Kennedy's politics, but readers wanting a lively overview of Kennedy, the flawed man and inspiring leader, should turn to this poignant study

Sunday, October 30, 2011

REFLECTION: A tribute to a journalist - John Neary

Via The Santa Fe New Mexican
Sunday, October30, 2011

People choose their careers for a variety of reasons. I chose mine because I wanted to be around people like John Neary. My career in journalism was dawning as his was ending. In so many words, he warned me: "I assume you know what you're in for, but just in case you don't ...." John Neary, who died Oct. 21, was like that, a vintage blend of Irish pessimism and Irish humor. He would have chided me for redundancy there.

I ignored his warnings. Why would I not pursue a profession that employed people like John Neary? Listening to him reminisce was like listening to a character from Jack London or Robert Louis Stevenson recall a perilous ocean voyage. The stories he told, the way he spoke of the perils, the low pay and the SOBs in charge, the more you wanted to head out on a voyage of your own. He had a writer's genius for spinning irresistible stories out of the grimmest adventures.

John wrote and edited stories for Life magazine before moving to Santa Fe in the 1970s. At least one of the books that celebrate the achievements of Life recalls him fondly. His work for Life endures in anthologies of the best of the magazine. After he left Life, he wrote a couple of books and numerous articles for magazines and Time Life Books. What I remember about him from that period are his descriptions of going back to New York every summer to work as a substitute for vacationing editors at Time Life. Hearing him chronicle the miseries of New York City in the dog days of summer and the thankless editorial chores worthy of a modern day Bartleby the Scrivener only made me yearn for that very life. He could not help but make journalism sound romantic. When he turned from journalism to blacksmithing, it was as if he were transferring his power of expression from one tool to another. Just as the typewriter had been, the forge was a precision instrument in his hands.

When I began thinking seriously of returning to Santa Fe to live, John was again full of dire warnings, about drought and wildfire and about how Santa Fe had changed for the worse. John was the opposite of lace-curtain Irish, and, to him, Santa Fe had become a bit lacey. He talked about hiding out in the Tesuque barrens and refusing to come any closer to the Plaza than the flea market. If Cassandra had been a 6-foot 4-inch Irishman, her name would have been Neary.

He was right about journalism, at least about the world of journalism he knew and I came to know. It was doomed. The newspaper where he started out, the Washington Star, is long gone, as are three of four papers where I worked. The fourth is in bankruptcy. If I possessed John's story-telling skill, I would write about getting stiffed for the last $9,000 I earned while bankruptcy court awarded the bosses millions in bonus money. If I were John, perhaps, I could tell the story in a way that might entice some green youngster to still want to be a journalist, to still want a taste of the bygone grandeur that John Neary represented.

Former Los Angeles Times reporter Frank Clifford lives in Santa Fe.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nina Berman: Beyond the Fringe of Protest


The New York Times/Lens Blog has an excellent post today comparing the Tea Party Protests and Occupy Wall  Street Protests.


 Nina Berman was intrigued by the idea of protest in this age, so when she heard about a nascent uprising that was gaining national momentum, she had to check it out.

 “I had an open mind,” she said. “I was wondering what made them tick, who showed up and what united them. Were they right wing? Did they draw from the left and the middle? Was it as crazy as people made it out to be?”

She was talking about the Tea Party movement, which she photographed at a huge rally in Washington in 2010. A year later, she had some of the same questions about the throngs that streamed into Lower Manhattan as part of the Occupy Wall Street protests. As she has discovered, though there are obvious differences in ideologies, the groups have some similarities. Both have staked a claim to be defenders of grass-roots values. And at times their critics have dismissed both as out of step with the rest of the nation.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Lucie Awards Honor Lifetime Achievements

Photo Distrct News has a good recap of the 2011 Lucie Awards:

Eli Reed, Bill Eppridge, Dawoud Bey and Rich Clarkson were among the veteran photographers honored for their contributions to photography at the 2011 Lucie Awards, held October 24 in New York City.

Bill Eppridge and Rich Clarkson Backstage © Robert Leslie

In accepting the award for Achievement in Photojournalism, Eppridge, who covered the Beatles’ arrival in America, Woodstock and Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign and assassination, thanked “all the photographers I ever worked against,” noting, “It’s that kind of quality competition that drives you.” Dawoud Bey, who received the award for Achievement in Portraiture, said his goal has been to create “a conversation with the human community” and to raise “questions about ourselves.” Rich Clarkson, who has photographed more than 30 covers of Sports Illustrated, was honored for Achievement in Sports. In his acceptance speech, Clarkson, who is a book producer and founder of the Summit Series Workshops, and worked as photo editor and director of photography at Topeka Capital-Journal, Denver Post and National Geographic, said he felt his true mission was to foster a young generation of photographers and photo editors. In presenting the award to Eli Reed for Achievement in Documentary Photography, photographer Misha Erwitt, a friend of Reed’s, noted that Reed’s “generosity shows in his photography and in his teaching.”

Nancy McGirr, who for 20 years has been teaching photography to children living in poverty in Guatemala and Honduras through her program Fotokids, was awarded the Humanitarian prize. The Spotlight Award was given to the International Center of Photography museum and school, presented by photographer Annie Leibovitz, a winner of an ICP Infinity Award. Nobuyoshi Araki, honored for Achievement in Fine Art Photography, was unable to attend; photographer Michael Grecco, who described himself as a collector and fan of Araki’s work, presented and accepted the award on his behalf.

While most of the awards honored lifetime achievement, the awards for achievements in the past year were kept a surprise until the ceremony. Kira Pollack of Time won Photo Editor of the Year. W Magazine won Fashion Layout of the Year for its photos of actress Tilda Swinton by Tim Walker. Zoom was named Photo Magazine of the Year. Kohle Yohanman, curator of the “Beauty Culture” exhibition at the Annenberg Center in Los Angeles won Curator/Exhibition of the Year. The award for Photo Book of the Year went to Chris Boot for the book Infidel by Tim Hetherington, who was killed in Libya in April. Boot, who is now executive director of Aperture, noted that sentiment probably went into the selection of Hetherington’s book. “All of us who had the pleasure of working with Tim loved him, and still do,” Boot said.

At the start of the event, the International Photography Awards, described as “a sister effort of the Lucie Foundation” were announced. The winners were selected by a jury of 70 photo editors, reps, photographers and gallery owners. Majid Saeedi was named International Photographer of the Year, which carries a $10,000 cash prize. The Discovery of the Year award, which honors a non-professional, went to portrait photographer Anna di Prospero. The award for Deeper Perspective, which honors a combination of essay and reportage photography, went to Daniel Beltra for his work on the Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

©Bill Eppridge with Richard Stolly on stage

©Bill Eppridge Eli Reed and Dawoud Bey with programme

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

John Loengard : Age of Silver

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Age of silver © John Loengard

An entire generation of photographers has come of age since digital technology supplanted film technology in photography. For those who have never wound a roll of film through a camera or dipped their fingers in darkroom chemicals, but have nonetheless wondered about that archaic process, let me recommend the following description from photographer and former Life magazine director of photography John Loengard. It is as succinct and eloquent an account of photography’s origins and chemical past as you will ever find:

Read the full interview betwen David Schonauer and John Loengard in today's La Lettre de la Photographie. "Age of Siver", exhibition opens November 25, Monroe Gallery of Photography. The exhibition continues through January 29, 2012.

Sunday, October 23, 2011



The Lucie Awards

By Peggy Roalf Friday October 21, 2011
For the 9th consecutive year, the Lucie Awards will celebrate the greatest achievements in photography the world over. This year, the gala comes to New York’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, on October 24, 2011.

Scenes from Lucies past, at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. Courtesy the Lucie Foundation.

The Lucie Awards, produced by the Lucie Foundation, a nonprofit charitable foundation, honor the achievements of the world’s most accomplished photographers, discover and cultivate emerging talent through mentoring and scholarship programs, and promote the appreciation of photography worldwide. The Lucie Foundation will also recognize the winners from the 2011 International Photography Awards (IPA) competition, the foundation’s sister effort.

“I am so proud of the path the Lucie Awards has taken thus far,” said Hossein Farmani, founder of the Lucie Awards. “2011 marks the 9th year of the Lucies, and 2012 will reveal the launch of an array of significant new programming to celebrate the 10-year anniversary, when the Lucies will return to its birth city, Los Angeles, in October of 2012.”

Each year the Lucie Awards recognize master photographers who have made a significant contribution to photography. The list of honorees joining this distinguished group of 78 prior honorees includes: Dawoud Bey, Achievement in Portraiture; Bill Eppridge, Achievement in Photojournalism; Rich Clarkson, Achievement in Sports; Nobuyoshi Araki, Achievement in Fine Art; Nancy McGirr and Fotokids, Humanitarian Award; and Eli Reed, Achievement in Documentary Photography Award.

The International Center of Photography will receive the 2011 Spotlight Award, which is nominated annually by the 40-member advisory board.

The 2011 International Photography Awards (IPA), a sister effort of the Lucie Foundation, will announce the competition winners who will receive cash prizes and Lucie statues at the gala. The revenue from this world-wide competition funds the majority of the Lucie Foundation’s year-round programming. Three of the 21 finalists will be named Photographer of the Year, Discovery of the Year Award, and Deeper Perspective Photographer of the Year. See the list of the 21 finalists from which the three winners will be named.

The Lucies will also recognize those in the creative community who are integral in crafting an image in the following categories: Print Advertising Campaign of the Year, Fashion Layout of the Year, Photography Magazine of the Year, Book Publisher of the Year, Exhibition/Curator of the Year, and Picture Editor of the Year. Information.

The Lucie Awards Ceremony takes place on Monday, October 24 at the Frecerick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, 33 West 60th Street, at Columbus Circle, NY, NY. Tickets $10/$20/$40/$60/

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tony O'Brian: "Contemplative Landscapes,” opens at the New Mexico History Museum Oct. 23

A Quiet Moment, Monastery of Christ in the Desert, 1995/2009. Photo by Tony O'Brien

The Albuquerque Journal

A time to refocus

The photographs reveal the sacred slant of light slicing across bowed heads, a solitary figure trudging up a snowy hill toward the chapel, loaves of freshly baked bread cooling on a wooden tabletop.

Tony O’Brien photographed Christ in the Desert Monastery for one year and discovered his own personal solace. The photographer’s dramatic black and white series forms the heart of “Contemplative Landscapes,” opening at the New Mexico History Museum Oct. 23.

Imprisoned by the Afghan secret police for six weeks while on assignment for Life magazine in 1989, O’Brien sought refuge and perspective at the Benedictine monastery. He returned to do a story in 1994 and in the process became a member of the community. His year-long spiritual sojourn granted him rare access to daily life in a community living a tradition dating to the Middle Ages. The monastery’s seclusion encouraged focus on St. Benedict’s guiding tenets –– hospitality, humility, acceptance and perseverance. He excavated the canyon deep within himself.

"I probably didn’t realize at the time that it was an opportunity for me to put a little closure to some things in my life that came out of prison and to understand who I was,” said O’Brien, now teaching photography at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

The photojournalist had worked for both the Albuquerque Journal and the New Mexican and covered the Gulf War, as well as the violence in Northern Ireland, Central America, Pakistan, India and finally Afghanistan. He had visited the monastery and befriended some of the monks.

Before his capture, he had been working in Peshawar covering the war between the Soviets and the Afghan Mujahideen. There was a bounty on western journalists, especially Americans. O’Brien traveled to Kabul to meet with a network of guerrillas in a safe house.

“The commander in charge of my little group sold me out,” he said.

At first he was put in relatively solitary confinement with two Afghans.

“We never saw anyone,” he said. “I came back one day after interrogation and one of my cell mates was gone. You never knew what happened.”

Roughed up, but not beaten, he said most of the abuse he endured was psychological.

“You got shoved around a bit, but once I was in prison, it was the interrogation, never having the lights off, waking you up in the middle of the night.”

“Sometimes I’d be in interrogation for 12 hours,” he continued. “I didn’t exist in the world anymore because nobody knew where I was.”

He began re-examining his life. Hope arrived in the form of his cellmate Nadr Ali, a practicing Shiite Muslim. O’Brien watched Nadr Ali say his prayers five times a day and soon joined him in his own prayers, following the Muslim cycle. The pair even crafted their own prayer beads.

In captivity, O’Brien collided with his own vulnerability.

“When I was captured, one of my first thoughts was ‘Oh my God, I’m never going to see my mother again’,” O’Brien said. “That was shattering.” It was through Nadr Ali’s faith and trust in God that he endured.

“He was just an ordinary guy and he turned out to be one of the strongest individuals I’ve ever met. That doesn’t mean I didn’t sink into the abyss,” O’Brien said. “I give a lot of credit to Nadr and his faith. This was a Muslim –– the bad guys.”

Raised Catholic, but no longer practicing the faith of his childhood, O’Brien had long been fascinated by the Benedictines and monasticism. The similarities between monastic life and prison were not lost on him.

“I always thought it was funny,” he said. “I had a cell in Afghanistan and I had a cell at the monastery.
“It was the quiet and the solitude that drew me,” he continued. “At the same time, there was that sense of community. These monks are on their own individual journeys, but they do it in community.”

At first, O’Brien stayed in the guest house. But he quickly realized the separate quarters would always render him an outsider. The monks agreed to allow him to join them in his own cell. He rose with vigils at 4 a.m., chanted the psalms, celebrated the triumph of life over death, light over darkness in a life defined by prayer. He waited nearly a month and a half before he began taking pictures.

“By the time the project ended, even though I was the photographer, I wasn’t the photographer,” he said. “If I lifted my camera, nobody paid any attention. It was almost like having another family. I feel very blessed for that.”

The project changed the way the deadline-driven photographer worked.

“I came out of the newspaper/magazine business,” he said. “(I learned) it’s OK, slow down. If you miss it, something else will come along. Keep it simple. Watch it evolve. Another gift I got was I learned it was OK to say I don’t know.”

But perhaps most profoundly, the tiny monastery tucked between the canyon walls along the Chama River changed him spiritually.

“It allowed me to become more at peace with who I was and with my beliefs,” he explained. “Part of it all is the struggle and the questions. It’s how you live on your quest for God. Each individual is on their own journey, but you’re in a community and that’s how you get your strength to carry on.”

If you go

WHAT: “Contemplative Landscape”
WHEN: 2-4 p.m. opening reception Sunday, Oct. 23. Through April 7.
WHERE: New Mexico History Museum, 113 Lincoln Ave.
COST: $9 out-of-state; $6 New Mexico residents. Free Sunday to state residents; free Wednesday to New Mexico seniors. Free to museum members and children under 17. Free Fridays 5-8 p.m.
HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday; open til 8 p.m. Friday.
CONTACT: 476-5200

Friday, October 21, 2011


When asked about advice for photographers starting out today, Bill Eppridge emphasizes telling the truth. "I believe our world is at a time right now in which it should be documented completely." He says we should all be protectors of our environment and heritage. "If we can influence people with photographs, maybe we'll be able to maintain our planet."

Bill Eppridge is the 2011 Lucie Award Honoree for Achivement in Photojournalism. The Lucie Awards gala ceremony honoring the greatest achievements in photography takes place Monday, October 24 at Lincoln Center in New York.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vivian Maier, Invisible Woman

Vivian Maier: Street Photographer, edited by John Maloof and published by PowerHouse Books. $40     

Via American Photo

Rescued in a fluke from the dustbin of history, an unknown street photographer makes a remarkable posthumous journey from obscurity to acclaim.

"Howard Greenberg, a top photography dealer who also handles prints by Cartier-Bresson and Stieglitz, confesses, “My fascination with her story has only grown, as has my involvement with her photographs. It is such an unusual story with no resolution. At first her images are extremely well seen, quality photographs of life on the street, in New York City and Chicago. But as one looks at the body of work, she reveals her deeper interests. Then one tries to imagine who she was, what motivated her, her personality. It’s not every day that one becomes so involved and even obsessed with thinking about a particular photographer. It’s completely infectious.”

Full article here.

Exhibit in Santa Fe: February 3 - April 22, 2012

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

All Access: The Rock 'n' Roll Photography of Ken Regan

 ken regan camera five book all access
 Ken Regan/Camera 5: The Rolling Stones, September, 1977

Rolling Stone Magazine has an article about the new book: All Access: The Rock 'n' Roll Photography of Ken Regan.

"This is the book that closes the book. The best book of rock photography....ever."

GQ interviews the veteran photojournalist, who talked about getting close to Bob Dylan, hanging with Mick Jagger, and his revealing new book.

Mr. Media: Audio interview with Ken Regan

"Happy Birthday" Performances to US Presidents: Then, and Now

Marilyn Monroe Singing

©Bill Ray: Marilyn Monroe Singing "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy, Madison Square Garden, NY, 1962

Another performance, another headline: Lady Gaga stole the show at former Bill Clinton's 65th birthday as she took the guise of Marilyn Monroe, sang an unplugged version of " Born this Way" and made a pass at the former President and his wife.

" Bill, I'm having my first Marilyn moment. I always wanted to have one, and I was hoping that it didn't involve pills and a strand of pearls," she joked.

" I just love you and your hot wife," she said emerging from a white tree on the stage of the Hollywood Bowl. With her long blond hair complemented with a beauty spot on her cheek, Gaga performed under the persona of Monroe, wearing a flesh colored cape, top and leggings with a large mesh hat.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Photographer captures life's curiosities

Via  The Wisconsin State Journal

Ida Wyman was sitting at her kitchen table in Fitchburg the other day, explaining why she hadn't taken more photos of a future U.S. president when she had the chance.
"I was there to cover Bonzo," Wyman said.

In November 1950, Life magazine sent Wyman to the set of "Bedtime for Bonzo," a film with a chimpanzee in the title role, supported by an actor named Ronald Reagan.

"He supposedly understood 500 commands," Wyman said of Bonzo. "He was short, like a little kid, but his grip was something else. He'd chatter at me, and I'd chatter back. He was very friendly."
She paused. "Reagan was friendly, too."

Wyman was holding a photo she took that day of Reagan holding Bonzo. "Who knew he was going to be president?"

Ida Wyman: Ronald Reagan with "Bonzo", California, 1950

Ida Wyman, 85, is a great American photographer who five years ago moved to the Madison area without a lot of fanfare. She has a granddaughter who lives here. And while Wyman has had a couple of exhibits of her work locally since then, she remains pretty much under the radar.

That may change when "Ida Wyman: Portraits of America," debuts Oct. 28 at the Paoli House Gallery. The exhibit runs through Nov. 20, and there will be an artist's reception from 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 11. The Reagan-Bonzo photograph is included in the exhibit of some 30 images.

In addition, Wyman will be heading to New York City for the opening celebration early next month of "The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936-1951," at the Jewish Museum.

Wyman was a member of the Photo League — which encouraged photographs of the gritty realities of ordinary New Yorkers — and her work will be part of the exhibit, which runs Nov. 4 through March 25.

"My style and outlook were compatible with the league," she said. "I was already shooting in a documentary style, not posed."

She got her start in the high school camera club, growing up in the Bronx borough of New York City, where her parents were grocers.

"Usually cash poor," Wyman said. "It took a lot of coaxing to get my father to give me $5 for my first camera."

It was a modified box camera, and Wyman toted it around the city, capturing people and scenes, driven by a curiosity that has not diminished, even all these years later.

"If I'm standing on line," she said — New Yorkers don't stand "in line," they stand "on line" — "I will get the story of the people in front of me."

The camera club taught her to develop film, and over time she learned about lighting, movement, shutter speed — the tools of her craft. Still, out of high school — she graduated early, at 16 —Wyman wanted to be a nurse, not a photographer. It turned out nursing students had to be 18.

She contacted New York newspapers and news services looking for work as a photographer, instead landing a job as a printer for Acme Newspictures.

When that ended in 1945 — the men returned from the war — Wyman began pitching photo story ideas to magazines like Look and Life. She made inroads with some editors and began hanging out at the Photo League. In 1948, she took a cross-country trip, taking photographs all the way, winding up in Los Angeles, where she spent several years.

The "Bonzo" assignment came then, as did another from Life that required Wyman to travel to northern California with Richard Nixon, who was running for the U.S. Senate in 1950 against Helen Gahagan Douglas.

Nixon spoke to miners at a gold mine — "his wife gave me a gold nugget," Wyman recalled — though the photo of Nixon in the Paoli exhibit will be one Wyman snapped in a northern California deli.

"He was genuinely friendly, one on one," she said of Nixon. "On stage, you never saw it."

What got her temporarily out of photography was raising her children. That was back in New York, and it was there, no longer married, that Wyman in 1969 went to work as chief photographer with the Department of Pathology at Columbia University.

In 1983, after a cancer scare, Wyman resolved to return to her true love, magazine photography. "People said I was crazy," she said, but she revived her career.

She came to Madison in 2006, and likes it here, though she wishes the buses came by her neighborhood more often. Afternoons, when the light in her condo falls just right, she gets inspired. She's working on a memoir. Beyond that, Ida Wyman will go where her curiosity takes her.

Contact Doug Moe at 608-252-6446 or His column appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Copyright 2011 All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Woman Of Photos And Firsts, Ruth Gruber At 100

The Picture Show


At the age of 100, Ruth Gruber is responsible for a lot of firsts. When she was just 20, she became the youngest Ph.D. ever at the University of Cologne in Germany. She was the first photojournalist, much less female journalist, to travel to and cover both the Soviet Arctic and Siberian gulag. She documented Holocaust survivors and the plight of the ship, the Exodus 1947.

Ruth Gruber, Alaska, 1941-43
Photographer unknown/Courtesy of International Center of Photography
Ruth Gruber, Alaska, 1941-43
Born in Brooklyn in 1911 to Jewish immigrants, Gruber has been the subject of a documentary film; of a made-for-TV movie; a musical; and, earlier this summer, she received a Cornell Capa Award and exhibition at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in Manhattan.

It was as a correspondent in the Soviet Arctic in the mid-1930s that Gruber first started taking photographs — focusing on frontier life and the role of women. No one taught her, just as no one taught her to write. She had an ear and an eye.

"She was just a badass — no other way describe it," says Maya Benton, curator of the ICP exhibition. Gruber was already an established author and reporter when U.S. Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes appointed her Field Representative to the Alaska Territory in 1941, where she made some of the earliest color images of the region.

It was in Alaska that she learned what she called to "live inside of time." In her New York City apartment she tells the story of once sending a cable to Anchorage, in need of a flight to Barrow:

"So I got a cable back from this company that had bush pilots: 'See you Tuesday, weather permitting.' Tuesday came, no pilot. Another Tuesday came, no pilot. I'd send another cable. No pilot. In New York, if the train was late, I was raring to go. What was the use getting upset in Alaska? So I decided I would just live inside of it like a golden bubble."

Ruth Gruber attends a tribute organized in her honor, in New York City in February, 2011.
Andy Kropa/Getty Images
Ruth Gruber attends a tribute organized in her honor, in New York City in February, 2011.

It's a quality that Gruber claims is responsible for her ability to be patient — to see things that she might otherwise have missed in her urge to tell a story. That, and being a woman gave her an advantage in getting sources to reveal themselves.

In 1944, she spent two weeks on the Henry Gibbins, a ship of 1,000 Jewish refugees, many of them clad in striped concentration camp uniforms, on a voyage from Italy to America.

She recalls: "Some of the men said, 'We can't tell you what we went through, it's too obscene. You're a young woman!' I said, 'Forget I'm a woman, you are the first witnesses coming to America.' So they talked. Nobody refused to talk."

As she recounts in her memoir, she told the men and women that through them, America would "learn the truth of Hitler's crimes." But it was on another ship, three years later, that Gruber did some of her best-known work. The Tribune assigned Gruber to accompany the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine.

In Haifa, she saw the nearly-destroyed ship, Exodus 1947, and its 4,500 Holocaust survivors, who were forced to board three ships waiting to take them back to Germany. It was on the Runnymede Park that she took what is her most famous photograph: A Union Jack superimposed with a Swastika — and beneath it in the high contrast of a burning sun, hundreds of people squashed together. The image became Life magazine's photo of the week.

1,500 Jewish refugees, having been forced off Exodus 1947 in Haifa, Palestine, wait aboard the British prison ship Runnymede Park. In protest, the prisoners painted a swastika on top of the Union Jack. August 22, 1947
Ruth Gruber/International Center of Photography

1,500 Jewish refugees, having been forced off Exodus 1947 in Haifa, Palestine, wait aboard the British prison ship Runnymede Park. In protest, the prisoners painted a swastika on top of the Union Jack. August 22, 1947
In her doctoral dissertation on Virginia Woolf, the 20-year-old Gruber wrote that her subject "is determined to write as a woman. Through the eyes of her sex, she seeks to penetrate life and describe it." The same could be said of the woman who wrote that: 100-year-old Ruth Gruber.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Supermarket Protests, New Jersey, 1963

Steve Schapiro: Supermarket Protest, New Jersey, 1963

The current Occupy Wall Street protest has inspired solidarity events springing up across the country.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Decisive Moments: Eddie Adams Workshop XXIV

Photo Courtesy of the Eddie Adams Workshop

Must read on Getty Images Blog: A first-time visitor to the Eddie Adams Workshop shares his experience - encouraging, honoring photojournalists.

"For me, it all clicked while listening to renowned photojournalist Bill Eppridge give a presentation about “decisive moments.”

Sitting at the back of an old barn with a few hundred people — seasoned photojournalists, editors, staff and students – I realized that the second I stepped out of my car and into the warm sunlight of rural Jeffersonville, NY earlier that day, I had walked into one.

Now in its 24th year, the Eddie Adams Workshop is an intense four-day, tuition-free gathering of top photography professionals, along with 100 carefully selected students from all over the globe, chosen based on the merit of their portfolios. It’s the brainchild of Adams himself, the Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist who covered 13 wars and some of the most celebrated people in the world, but wanted his legacy to be greater than the work he created from behind the lens."

Full article here.

Related: Monroe Gallery of Photography, 112 Don Gaspar, is honored to welcome Bill Eppridge, recipient of the 2011 Lucie Award for Achievement in Photojournalism, to Santa Fe for a gallery discussion of his work. The discussion takes place on Friday, November 4, from 5 to 7 PM.

More information here.

Snapshot of a Vibrant Market

Pierre Dubreuil's The First Round, ca. 1932, sold for $314,500 at Sotheby's

Via ARTnews

NEW YORK—Fall photography sales fell roughly in line with totals seen last year as collectors continue to emphasize top-quality works by blue chip artists from across the spectrum of 19th to 20th century, vintage works to modern and contemporary prints. The total at Phillips de Pury & Company, Sotheby’s and Christie’s sales from Oct. 4-6 was $17.5 million, compared with $17.4 million realized last year.

Phillips accounted for $6.9 million of that total, an improvement on last year’s total of just under $4 million, while Sotheby’s realized $4.7 million, as compared with $4.97 million last year. Christie’s total was $5.8 million, compared with $8.5 million achieved last year. In addition to its various owner sale on Oct. 6, Christie’s held a separate single-owner auction, titled “The American Landscape,” featuring black and white photographs from the collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman on Oct. 7. The sale realized $1 million, compared with an estimate of $900,000/1.3 million.

Phillips opened the series on Oct. 4, with a regular various-owner sale as well as a special offering of works from an unidentified private collection, titled “The Arc of Photography,” that collectively took in $6.9 million compared with an estimate of $4.5 million/6.5 million.

Both sales were heavy with established names such as Richard Avedon, Man Ray, Irving Penn, Alfred Stieglitz and Robert Mapplethorpe. Of 272 lots on offer, 224 lots, or 82 percent, were sold. By value, the sale realized 91 percent.

The top lot was Avedon’s portfolio of The Beatles, 1967, which sold for $722,500 compared with an estimate of $350,000/450,000.The second-highest price was paid for a work from the private collection by Nadar (Gaspard-Félix) and Adrien Tournachon, Pierrot with Fruit, 1854-55. It brought a record $542,500 compared with an estimate of $150,000/200,000.

Man Ray’s Untitled (Self-portrait of Man Ray), 1933, sold for $398,500 compared with an estimate of $80,000/120,000 while Penn’s Black and White Vogue Cover (Jean Patchett), New York, 1950, sold for $374,500.

Stieglitz’s portrait of Georgia O’Keeffe, 1935, also featured in the top prices, selling for $146,500, and falling within the $120,000/180,000 estimate. Among more contemporary works, Candida Höfer’s Handelingenkamer Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal Den Haag III, 2004, sold for $104,500 compared with an estimate of $50,000/70,000, while Mapplethorpe’s Calla Lily, 1987, sold for $86,500, clearing the $50,000/70,000 estimate.

Vanessa Kramer, worldwide director of photographs at Phillips, said the results “mirror the strength of the photographs market across the spectrum as well as the increase in demand for the highest caliber of works,” adding that the sales “speak of the steadfast growth of the field.”

Sotheby’s sale on Oct. 5 saw solid results with the house posting a total of $4.7 million, falling within the $3.6 million/5.5 million estimate. Of 193 lots offered, 138 (or 72 percent) were sold.
The top lot was a complete set of Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly, a journal that was published by Stieglitz from 1903-17. Estimated at $200,000/250,000, the set sold for $398,500 to Christian Keesee, according to Christie’s.

The sale posted two artist records: for Pierre Dubreuil, when his oil print, The First Round, ca. 1932, sold for $314,500 compared with an estimate of $150,000/250,000; and for Alexander Gardner et alii when the sketchbook, Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War, sold for $158,500 on an estimate of $70,000/100,000. In the top lots, Gardner’s Portrait of Abraham Lincoln, 1863, sold for $98,500 on an estimate of $30,000/50,000.

Christopher Mahoney, senior vice president of Sotheby’s photographs department said that the wide range of material in the top lots “demonstrates the richness and depth of the market.”
Chelsea dealer Bruce Silverstein was listed as the buyer of Alvin Langdon Coburn’s gum-platinum print, The Cloud, 1906, which was estimated at $20,000/30,000 but sold for three times that, at $92,500.

At Christie’s sale on Oct. 6, 294 lots were offered and 214, or 73 percent, were sold. By value, the auction realized 83 percent.

Deborah Bell, Christie’s specialist head of the photo department, said the sale “offered a wide range of photographs that stimulated active bidding across all categories. The top-two prices achieved for works by Ansel Adams and Vik Muniz demonstrate the strength and sweeping diversity of the market for photographs.”

The top price was $242,500 for a group of works by Adams titled Clearing Storm, Sonoma County Hills, 1951, made up of five gelatin silver print enlargements, flush-mounted on plywood. It was estimated at $200,000/300,000.

It was followed by Muniz’s The Best of Life, 1989-1995, ten gelatin silver prints of iconic historical images from Life magazine, which sold for $170,500 clearing the $80,000/120,000 estimate.
Two other lots by Adams figured in the top ten, with both selling to U.S. dealers. These included: Surf Sequence, A-E, 1940, five gelatin silver prints printed in the 1960s, that sold for $170,500 against an estimate of $100,000/150,000; and Aspens, Northern New Mexico, 1958, a gelatin silver mural print, printed in 1965-1968.

A mixed-media gelatin print by Peter Beard, Bull Eland Passing Elephants Digging Water, near Kathamula Tsavo, North, for The End of the Game, February 1965, sold for $158,500 (estimate: $80,000/120,000).

Work by Robert Frank also figured prominently in the auction’s top lots. The highest of these was London, 1951, a gelatin silver print, printed late 1970s, which sold for $116,500 on an estimate of $90,000/120,000. Two other works by Frank took $98,500 each, against estimates of $100,000/150,000, including Charleston, S.C., 1956, a gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1970, and Fourth of July-Jay, New York, 1956, a gelatin silver print also printed ca. 1970.

William Eggleston’s Sumner, Mississippi, ca. 1970, a dye-transfer print, printed 2001, sold for $104,500 on an estimate of $30,000/50,000, and Frantisek Drtikol’s Svítání, 1928-1929, a flush-mounted pigment print, also sold for $104,500 on an estimate of $40,000/60,000.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hondros, Hetherington Prizes Awarded at Eddie Adams Workshop



Among the awards given out at the 24th annual Eddie Adams Workshop, held October 7 through 10 in Jeffersonville, New York, were two prizes created in memory of photographers Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, who were killed in Misrata, Libya on April 20, 2011.

The Chris Hondros Fund, created after his death to support young photojournalists, gave a $2500 prize and a print to Workshop attendee Enrico Fabian.  The Tim Hetherington Memorial Award, a $2,000 prize, was given to Dominic Braccome. The prize was funded by a collection taken at a gathering of Hetherington’s friends and colleagues held at New York’s Bubble Lounge days after his death.

Each year, the intensive, four-day Workshop ends with a memorial to photojournalist Eddie Adams, the Workshop’s founder, and six of his Vietnam-era colleagues who were killed covering war. This year, the memorial was made more poignant with the addition of tributes to Hondros and Hetherington.

Hondros, a 1993 Workshop alumnus, was remembered with a screening of short interview excerpts from the 2007 documentary In Service: Pittsburgh to Iraq. In one segment, Hondros, who had covered the Iraq war for Getty Images, spoke about the gap between American and Iraqi culture, saying, “Our government is infatuated with Iraq but our people are not.”

Jamie Wellford, international photo editor at Newsweek, told the audience that Hetherington had been looking forward to attending this year’s Workshop. On the day he died, Hetherington had emailed Wellford, but he didn’t receive it until after Hetherington’s death, because it  “spent a week in digital purgatory.” Wellford introduced a screening of Hetherington’s 19-minute film Diary. Made in 2010, it is a kaleidoscopic, deeply personal compilation of footage showing Hetherington’s view of his life as a war photographer.

Among the other prizes given out during the Workshop to Barnstorm participants:

The Colton Family Award, for the student who best embodies the spirit of the workshop, a $1000 Award and a spot on the Black team at next year’s Workshop:

Scott Mcintyre
$1000 Cash Awards From National Geographic (two):

Kiana Hayeri And Arthur Bondar
$500 Awards From LIFE Magazine (Two):

Gregory Gieske, David Maurice Smith
Assignments from Newsweek, People, Sports Illustrated, Esquire Digital, AARP and AARP Bulletin, AP, Getty Images, The Los Angeles, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other newspapers and publications were also given out. Additional awards of services or gift certificates were offered by Altpick, B& H Photo, Mac Group and PDN.

A full list of 2011 participants is available on

–with reporting by Jill Waterman

Nina Berman at Occupy Wall Street: The Statue of Liberty


Via Bag News Notes
October 12, 2011

Nina Berman at Occupy Wall Street: The Statue of Liberty

Full post here.

Fall Photography Auctions

Via photograph Magazine
photograph is the bi-monthly USA guide to photo-based art with listings of exhibitions, private dealers and resources. There are also columns, a calendar of events, and illustrated advertising from galleries, museums, dealers, auctions houses and photographers.

Richard Avedon, The Beatles Portfolio

Richard Avedon, The Beatles Portfolio

Phillips de Pury and Company kicked off the fall auction season on October 4 with two sales: a general owners photographs sale and a sale it described as “a private East Coast collection” called the Arc of Photography. The private-owners sale fetched $2,345,375, and the general photographs sale made a total of $4,583,875. Together, the sales presented works ranging from the historical -- Pierrot with Fruit, a salt print by Nadar and Adrien Tournachon, 1854-55, which brought $542,500, well above the $200,000 high estimate – to the contemporary -- Candida Hofer’s Handelingenkamer Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal Den Haag III, 2004, from her “Libraries” series, which brought $104,500. The top lot in the general sale (and that sale’s cover lot) was The Beatles Portfolio, psychedelic dye-transfer prints of John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and Paul McCartney, by Richard Avedon, from 1967, which sold for $722,500.

Pierre Dubeuil, The First Round

Pierre Dubeuil, The First Round

Sotheby’s photography sale in New York on October 5 totaled $4,754,376 and was 71.5 percent sold by lot. The top lot was a complete set of Camera Work, which sold for $398,500, an auction record for a set of Camera Work journals. Pierre Dubreuil’s The First Round, a close up of a very young, fresh-faced boxer holding up his gloves, brought $314,500, a record for that artist at auction. And Ansel Adams’s Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, perhaps his most famous image, brought $362,500. Alexander Gardner’s Photographic Sketchbook of the War sold for $158,500 to a private collector.

Robert Frank, London
Robert Frank, London

The first Christie’s photography sale at which Debra Bell was at the helm was 73 percent sold by lot and brought $4,811,625. Works by two of the medium’s masters, Ansel Adams and Robert Frank, peppered the top ten list, but ten prints from Vik Muniz’s series The Best of Life, 1989-1995, brought the second highest price, $170,500. The photographs are of drawings Muniz made from memory based on famous Life magazine covers. Adams’s Clearing Storm, Sonoma County Hills, five gelatin silver prints from 1961, was the top lot, bringing $242,500. Robert Frank’s London, of a child running down the street, away from the open door of a hearse, 1951 (printed in the 1970s), sold for $116,500. On October 7, Christie’s held the fifth sale of the Bruce and Nancy Berman Collection, this one focused on American landscapes. The sale totaled $1,001,938, with 80 percent sold by lot. The top lot was Dorthea Lange’s The Human Face, 1933, of a young boy, his hair falling into his face, sold for $40,000, well above the $7,000 high estimate.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Bill Eppridge

Monroe Gallery of Photography, 112 Don Gaspar, is honored to welcome Bill Eppridge, recipient of the 2011 Lucie Award for Achievement in Photojournalism, to Santa Fe for a gallery discussion of his work. The discussion takes place on Friday, November 4, from 5 to 7 PM. Seating is limited and will be on a first-come basis.

The Lucie Awards is the annual gala ceremony honoring the greatest achievements in photography. The photography community from countries around the globe will pay tribute to Bill Eppridge, who will receive the 2011 Lucie Award for Achievement in Photojournalism at a special ceremony October 24 at Lincoln Center in New York.

Bill Eppridge is one of the most accomplished photojournalists of the Twentieth Century and has captured some of the most significant moments in American history:  he has covered wars, political campaigns, heroin addiction, the arrival of the Beatles in the United States, Vietnam, Woodstock, the summer and winter Olympics, and perhaps the most dramatic moment of his career - the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy in Los Angeles. Over the last 50 years, his work has appeared in numerous publications, including National Geographic, Life, and Sports Illustrated; and has been exhibited in museums throughout the world.

For the first time, this exhibition presents many of Eppridge's most important photo essays together, including: The Beatles, Mississippi Burning: The James Cheney Funeral, and The Robert F. Kennedy 1968 presidential campaign and assassination. The exhibition continues through November 20, 2011.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The flag on Iwo Jima: 100 years of a legendary AP photographer

Via AP
Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 10:22am

U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment of the Fifth Division raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, in this photo taken on Feb. 23, 1945. (AP Photo/Joe Rosenthal) © 2011 AP

The man who photographed five Marines and a Navy corpsman lifting the American flag over the summit of Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima, creating the most memorable image of the fight that was World War II, was born exactly 100 years ago — on Oct. 9, 1911.

In an oral history for the AP Corporate Archives in 1997, Joe Rosenthal recalls leaving his native Washington, D.C. and heading to San Francisco in 1929 seeking any kind of work — and he found it as an office boy at the Newspaper Enterprise Association.

AP photographer Joe Rosenthal, who landed with the invading U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima on Feb. 19, 1945. (AP Photos) © 2011 AP“They showed me the front end and the back end of a camera, and encouraged me, and it wasn’t very long before I was off shooting,” he recalled. His first assignment was to photograph rhododendrons in Golden Gate Park.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Rosenthal was a photographer at the AP bureau in San Francisco. After the Army declined to take him into service due to his bad eyesight, he joined the United States Maritime Service. In March 1944, he went to the Pacific for AP, landing alongside the Marines and Infantry divisions as they fought to retake New Guinea, Guam, Angaur and Peleliu.

Apart from surviving, his chief aim during these assaults was the protection of his camera.

On Feb. 23, 1945, Rosenthal had been on Iwo Jima for four days. Progress up the mountain had been measured in inches. There was no pathway, only chewed up ground. Caves had to be dynamited to subdue the enemy before troops could proceed.

As he reached the brow of the hill, he recalled, “I swung my Graphic around, close up to my face, and held it, watching through the finder, to see when I could estimate what’s the peak of the picture.”

A full week elapsed before he saw what the finder had seen. “Hey, there’s a good shot,” was his modest appraisal.

Valerie Komor

What he was not muted about was his respect for the effort it took to get to Suribachi in the first place. “I see what had to be gone through before those Marines, with that flag, or with any flag, got up to the top of that mountain.”

Joe Rosenthal died in Novato, Calif., on Aug. 20, 2006. He was 94.


Watch these video clips of Rosenthal describing his experiences with Iwo Jima, and with his famous shot.

Valerie Komor is the director of the AP Corporate Archives.


Follow AP on Twitter here.

Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan: New book explores the story behind the photograph that shamed America

Little Rock, Arkansas
Elizabeth and Hazel, September 4, 1957 Photo: Will Counts Collection, Indiana University Archives

One was trying to go to school; the other didn’t want her there. Together, Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan starred in one of the most memorable photographs of the Civil Rights era. But their story had only just begun.

Via the Telegraph
12:01AM BST 09 Oct 2011

On her first morning of school, September 4 1957, Elizabeth Eckford’s primary concern was looking nice. Her mother had done her hair the night before; an elaborate two-hour ritual, with a hot iron and a hotter stove, of straightening and curling. Then there were her clothes. People in black Little Rock knew that the Eckford girls were expert seamstresses; practically everything they wore they made themselves, and not from the basic patterns of McCall’s but from the more complicated ones in Vogue. It was a practice borne of tradition, pride, and necessity: homemade was cheaper, and it spared black children the humiliation of having to ask to try things on in the segregated department stores downtown.

In the fall of 1957, Elizabeth was among the nine black students who had enlisted, then been selected, to enter Little Rock Central High School.

Central was the first high school in a major southern city set to be desegregated since the United States Supreme Court had ruled three years earlier in Brown vs Board of Education that separate and ostensibly equal education was unconstitutional. Inspired both by Thurgood Marshall, who had argued the case of plaintiff Oliver L Brown, and Clarence Darrow, Elizabeth wanted to become a lawyer, and she thought Central would help her realise that dream.

On the television as Elizabeth ate her breakfast, a newsman described large crowds gathering around Central. It was all her mother, Birdie, needed to hear. “Turn that thing off!” she shouted. Should anyone say something nasty at her, she counselled Elizabeth, pretend not to hear them. Or better yet, be nice, and put them to shame.
Lots of white people lined Park Street as Elizabeth headed towards the school. As she passed the Mobil station and came nearer, she could see the white students filtering unimpeded past the soldiers. To her, it was a sign that everything was all right. But as she herself approached, three Guardsmen, two with rifles, held out their arms, directing her to her left, to the far side of Park. picture.

When it comes down to it, Counts’s famous photograph of Elizabeth Eckford is really more of Hazel Bryan: it is on Hazel that the eyes land, and linger.

Despite the tricky lighting, her face is perfectly exposed: the early morning September sun shines on her like a spotlight. It hits her from the side, painting her face in a stark chiaroscuro that makes it look more demonic still. She’s caught mid-vowel, with her mouth gapingly, ferociously open. At that instant, and in perpetuity, Hazel Bryan, always the performer, has the stage completely to herself.

Others played their own small parts in the picture, but “the mouth” she later said, “was mine”. And dressing that morning as she had, trying to look all grown up and sexed up, she had masked how young she really was. She was only 15, but she would always be seen, and judged, as an adult.

The next morning, Elizabeth and Hazel landed on millions of doorsteps.

Elizabeth became, as Ted Poston of the New York Post put it, “probably the most widely known high school student in the whole United States”, with the unidentified white girl to her running a close second.

Attention, and commentary, came from abroad as well. “One Girl Runs Gauntlet of Hate”, shouted a headline in the Daily Express in London.

The Arkansas Gazette marvelled at how the events had united in their outrage the newspapers of the Vatican, the Kremlin and a country whose leader had snubbed Jesse Owens only 20 years earlier. The story and picture led off the Little Rock coverage in Paris Match.

Long-distance telephone calls for Elizabeth came into her grandfather’s store from Chicago, Detroit, New York, even Oklahoma. Though all of The Nine got letters, Elizabeth got far and away the most, as many as 50 a day.
Because she’d rarely been identified by name, Hazel got little mail. A few letters, all from the North, all critical, were sent to her care of Central. Hazel read them, found their critical tone surprising, then gave them little mind.
Hazel’s parents, though, found her sudden notoriety sufficiently alarming to pull her out of Central. As linked as she became to the Little Rock Nine, then, Hazel did not in fact spend a single day inside Central with any of them.

The initial reports from inside were encouraging. “The teachers are very nice. Nothing went wrong, there were no catcalls. I especially enjoyed my history and English classes,” Elizabeth reported after that first day.
“Everything will be all right, for the majority of the white students themselves are all right.” Soon, though, there were disquieting signs. On October 1, while walking down the hall, Elizabeth was struck from behind with a pencil. In gym class the next day, someone threw a rock at her. When a soldier asked who, the white students just laughed.

Elizabeth suffered disproportionately. Apart from being the most vulnerable, she was also the most symbolically potent: if only they could drive out the girl who had come to epitomise the Nine, the segregationists may have hoped, the others would quickly follow, and the whole integrationist edifice would crumble.
Elizabeth had to be coaxed into participating in the 40th anniversary celebrations in 1997, even though they promised to be the most glorious yet: President Bill Clinton would preside. Elizabeth gradually became involved, meeting planners of the visitor centre the National Park Service planned to open in the old Mobil station near the school.

Also involved in the commemorations was Elizabeth Jacoway of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, who was writing a history of the schools crisis. Jacoway had interviewed dozens of participants, including Elizabeth (in 1994) and Hazel (in 1996). Having pondered Hazel’s face for decades, Jacoway had been expecting an uneducated hick and was surprised by how articulate and remorseful she was.

In the years after Little Rock, Hazel had become increasingly political, branching out into peace activism and social work. One programme focused on self-esteem for teenagers. She took black teenagers who rarely had left Little Rock on field trips, climbing Pinnacle Mountain and picking strawberries. And, putting her course work in child psychology to use, she counselled young unwed mothers, many of them black, on parenting skills.
All this do-gooding with blacks, her husband, Antoine, joked, was really her way of atoning for the picture. And maybe he was right. Her whole outlook towards black people had changed. At the Barnes & Noble in Little Rock, she perused the sections on black history. She read David Shipler’s study of black-white relations in America, A Country of Strangers, a book Elizabeth herself had helped inspire.

Someone had suggested that an entire wall of the new visitor centre be devoted to the photograph. But Jacoway had another idea: subordinating the original photograph to a contemporary picture of Elizabeth and Hazel together – one symbolising the racial progress Little Rock had made. Will Counts was thinking similar thoughts. Newly retired from a professorship at Indiana University, the photographer had returned to Arkansas to chronicle the changes at Central since 1957.

When Elizabeth cut the ribbon at the dedication of the new visitor centre on September 20, Counts looked on. Afterward, Jacoway gave him Hazel’s number. Later that day, he spoke to both women. They agreed to meet.
For a moment, the two women faced one another. Still imagining Hazel as a blonde, Elizabeth was taken a bit aback to behold a brunette. “Hi, I’ve always wanted to meet you,” Elizabeth told her. “You’re mighty brave to face the cameras again,” she told Hazel as the three visitors entered the house. Hazel found the remark puzzling: Elizabeth seemed to be warning her of risks she couldn’t foresee.

Counts had already scouted possible locations to shoot the pair. He was thinking not so much about making great art, but about making a point, about the power of human beings to grow, and to forgive. And these two women actually looked comfortable with each other; they weren’t just putting on a show. Watching it was, for him, a near-religious experience, one of the most thrilling moments in his life.

When the anniversary commemorations ended in late September of 1997, Elizabeth and Hazel prepared to go their very separate ways. But, as time passed, Hazel realised that she wasn’t quite ready to let go.
In mid-November, Hazel invited Elizabeth and two of her sister Anna’s grandchildren to her house. Then, later that month, came the poster signing.

A large crowd showed up. As for the poster itself, Hazel thought the original picture was too small: as much as she hated it, she believed it couldn’t and shouldn’t be hidden. Elizabeth had a different problem with it: she thought the title – “Reconciliation” — overstated; there was a big difference between that and forgiveness.
Their encounters gradually became more frequent, almost routine. Over the next several months, they went to a home and garden show, and bought daylilies and irises together. They shopped for fabrics together. They heard Maya Angelou read poetry together.

The two enrolled in a seminar on racial healing offered by Little Rock’s racial and cultural diversity commission. Discussing race relations in a group of 20 every Monday night for 12 weeks was a revelation to each: Elizabeth had never realised how paralysed by anger and hate she had been, and hoped to leech some of that rage. It seemed to work, and she came to look forward to each session.

As for Hazel, she was naive about how bitter some blacks were; here was a problem one couldn’t simply wish away, or eliminate with soothing words. She was also amazed by how little race history she knew: after one class, Elizabeth mentioned Strange Fruit, the anti-lynching song Billie Holiday had made famous, and, much to Elizabeth’s astonishment, Hazel knew nothing about either the song or the subject. The picture itself was never discussed. But their classmates were tickled to be sitting alongside two such famous antagonists and, week by week, watching them bond.

Quietly, though, some considered the rapprochement, however lovely in principle, a triumph of sentimentality, wishful thinking, and marketing over reality. They wondered how deep it went and how long it could last. In some segments of her own community, Elizabeth stood accused of whitewashing reality. “I have been surprised by the vitriol that some young blacks approach me with,” she told the BBC. “They feel like I’m saying that what happened, it’s all over with and there are no repercussions. They feel like I’m wiping away the past.”

Almost from the outset, Hazel encountered hostility from whites. Some doubted her sincerity; more resented it. Soon, and most seriously, tensions developed with Elizabeth. Novelty and companionability, excitement and relief had propelled them along for a time.

But strains soon surfaced. The source was Elizabeth, and it was predictable, for she had always been the harder sell. Her usual wariness, vigilance, and perfectionism could be kept at bay only so long. As the two shared more time and platforms, Elizabeth spotted what she perceived to be discrepancies, inconsistencies and evasions, in Hazel’s story.

The fissure was painfully apparent that March, 18 months into their relationship, when they met Linda Monk, a lawyer turned writer who hoped to write a book about the women. She recorded some of their sessions, and those taped conversations captured how Elizabeth’s mood had changed.

“After you saw [Counts’s] pictures in the paper, you don’t remember how you felt or what people close to you talked about?” she asked Hazel incredulously at one point. ‘‘There wasn’t much conversation about it, really,’’ replied Hazel. What she’d done that morning had been so banal — “just hamming up and being recognised – getting attention” – that it hadn’t been worth remembering, she insisted. Maybe she had a block. But Elizabeth wasn’t buying it.

Elizabeth had forgiven Hazel, but that forgiveness, she concluded, had been obtained under false pretences: Hazel hadn’t fully owned up to her past. For her part, Hazel felt under assault. “It’s very hard for me to sit there and listen to you, Elizabeth,” she said weakly. “It’s very hard for me… and if there’s anything I could give you… if I could take it back… if I could…” She began to sob.

In the spring of 1999 I travelled to Little Rock and arranged to meet Elizabeth and Hazel at a barbecue. Afterwards we went to Hazel’s house and talked some more. It was, I thought, a friendly chat. Elizabeth did not let on that she and Hazel were having problems; the two of them were “very close”, she said. They talked a lot, she went on, maybe once a week. Hazel was more forthright about where things stood between them, but still oblique. “I think she still… at times we have a little… well, the honeymoon is over and now we’re getting to take out the garbage,” she said.

Early in 2000 Cathy Collins, the sociologist who had conducted the racial healing seminar Elizabeth and Hazel had attended, invited them for catfish at a local restaurant. Collins planned to write her dissertation on the two of them, and wanted to discuss the project. She had picked up no bad vibes that evening, but Elizabeth had: Hazel seemed very much on edge. Her instincts were sound. Hazel had had enough. They would no longer see each other. Quietly, unceremoniously, their great experiment in racial rapprochement was over.

The “reconciliation” poster was popular enough to warrant another printing. Elizabeth let them go ahead; it was her way of supporting the place. Now, though, she insisted that it carry a caveat, one she devised herself. Soon, a small sticker, resembling the surgeon general’s warning on cigarette packs, appeared in the upper right hand corner. It was gold, and relatively inconspicuous, particularly against Central’s ochre bricks: “True reconciliation can occur only when we honestly acknowledge our painful, but shared, past.” – Elizabeth Eckford.

The message puzzled Hazel, who had not been consulted about either the reprinting or the disclaimer. As far as she was concerned, ‘‘acknowledging the painful but shared past’’ was just what she had been trying to do. She’d have liked to have had her own sticker, one that said, ‘‘True reconciliation can occur only when we honestly let go of resentment and hatred, and move forward.’’ The poster continued to hang in the office of Central’s principal, Nancy Rousseau, though more as an ideal than a reflection of reality.

“I just had hoped that I could show this picture and say, ‘This happened, and that happened, and now…’ and there is no ‘now’,” she said. “And that makes me sad. It makes me sad for them, it makes me sad for the future students at our school, and for the history books, because I’d like a happy ending. And we don’t have that.”

‘Elizabeth and Hazel’ by David Margolick (Yale University Press, £18.99) is available from Telegraph Books for £16.99 plus £1.25p p and p; 0844 871 1516;

Continued:  Related Article