Vintage Photojournalism at Monroe Gallery of Photography
One of the prints in the new exhibit at Monroe Gallery of Photography depict s a solemn moment in Robert F. Kennedy’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. But the distinctive attribute of this object is on the reverse, where there are numerous stamps and notations, such as “Used in Life June 16 1968 Special Edition” and “Used Life Australia June 24 1968 p. 75.”
An old argument about the value of photographic prints is that because the negatives exist, multiple prints can be made. However, each of the prints featured in Vintage Photojournalism at Monroe Gallery has a history, documented on the reverse, that goes back many decades. Because photographers like Yale Joel, who photographed the Kennedy funeral, worked on assignments for the next issue of Life, Time, or another magazine or newspaper, the prints were often made immediately, or just a few days after the shot was taken. Many also bear evidence of the photo editor’s direction regarding cropping and other preferences.
The gallery’s walls display images from the 1930s (Carl Mydans’ photos of WPA demonstrators at a Works Progress Administration strike) to the late 1970s (Eddie Adams’ pictures of Vietnamese refugee “boat people”). Gallery owner Sid Monroe said some prints were obtained from the photographers or from late photographers’ estates, and others come from the Life archive at the International Center of Photography in New York City.
Also in the show are Adams’ photos from the Vietnam War and a Paul Schutzer image of Martin Luther King shaking hands after making an address at the Lincoln Memorial. There are also candids of artist Pablo Picasso, President John F. Kennedy, Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, and Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, and Clark Gable on the set of the movie The Misfits.
Vintage Photojournalism opens with a 5 p.m. reception on Friday, Feb. 19, and continues through April 17. The gallery is at 112 Don Gaspar Ave., 505-992- 0800. — Paul Weideman
Martha Holmes: Danny Kaye, June Havoc, Humphrey Bogart, and Lauren Bacall at the House Un-American Activities Committee, Washington, D.C., 1947, ©Time Inc.; right, © Eddie Adams: Vietnamese refugees, Gulf of Siam, Thanksgiving Day, 1977; images courtesy Monroe Gallery of Photography