Thursday, December 31, 2009

HAPPY 2010!

John Phillips/Time Inc: New Year's Eve Celebration, Times Square, New York, 1941

On the one hand, the year 2000 seems like eons ago, and on the other, it is hard to believe ten years - a decade - have passed. We wish everyone a wonderful start to a new year and a new decade.

Sidney and Michelle Monroe

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Sidney and Michelle Monroe wish you a joyous Holiday Season and a New Year full of happiness. We graciously thank you for your kind support and encouragement.

As the Holidays are upon us, we are pleased to share with you a selection of our favorite seasonal photographs. Enjoy! (Update: Thank you for your feedback! It has inspired us to install a special exhibit in the gallery, on view now through January 3.)

Bill Ray: Three Santa Clauses leaving Downtown IRT Subway, New York, 1958

Martha Holmes: Dean of Santas giving a lecture at the Waldorf Astoria Santa Convention, New York, 1948

Mick Rock: Truman Capote and Andy Warhol, New York, 1979

Alfred Eisenstaedt: Truman Capote, Rockefeller Center, New York, 1959

Alfred Eisenstaedt: Ice Skating Waiter, St. Moritz, 1932

Jacques Henri-Lartigue: Doudy de Cazalet,  Megeve, 1933

John Dominis: Robert Redford,  Sundance, Utah, 1969

Eddie Adams: Hill and Gully Riders New Kensington, PA, 1958

Ralph Morse: Tug-of-war during snowstorm at Timberline Lodge Ski Club, 1942

John Dominis: Southern Pacific Engine Donner Pass, California 1949

 Alfred Eisenstaedt:  Trees in snow, St. Moritz, 1947

Verner Reed: Trees in Snow, Stowe, Vermont, 1971

Verner Reed: Maine Morning, Pemaquid, ME, 1978

Alfred Eisenstaedt: Central Park after a Snowstorm, New York, 1969

Ida Wyman: Wrought Iron in Snow, New York, 1947

Ruth Orkin: White Stoops, New York, 1951

John Loengard: Henry Moore's Sheep Piece, Hertfordshire, England, 1983

Shepard Sherbell: Nentsy Family, Siberian Arctic, 1992

Kendall Nelson: Tired and Weary, Spanish Ranch, Tuscarrora, Nevada, 1999

Eddie Adams: Shepherd, Bethlehem, 1970

John Phillips: New Year's Eve Celebration at Midnight Welcoming 1942, Times Square, New York

Also, in time for the holidays, see our current exhibit On The Town, featuring classic photographs of celebrations and merriment.

© All Photographs Copyright by Respective Copyright Holders.


112 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501
505.992.0810 (fax)

Thursday, December 17, 2009


This photograph is in the current issue of New York magazine (although somewhat obscured by "10 Reasons To Love New York" text!). It continues Wilkes' experimentation of changing time withing a photograph.

In a recent interview with F-Stop, Wilkes explained:

"Changing time in a single photograph is a very interesting concept. The genesis of this idea really happened many years ago when I was working for Life magazine on “a big picture”. They hired me to photograph Claire Danes and Leonardo Dicaprio as Romeo and Juliet, and I had an opportunity to photograph them along with the entire cast and crew in Mexico City where they were filming. We spent about four days waiting to actually get the entire cast and crew into this one photograph and Life had asked me to create a panoramic gatefold. When we got to the set, I realized that the set was actually a huge square. So I decided to take the square and break it apart, ala David Hockney, using individual images. I ended up shooting over 250 images that I pasted together by hand. The interesting time aspect came into play when in the centre of the photograph is where the stars are, Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes, they
literally in a moment of embrace when everybody else, cast and crew, is surrounding them. To the right side of the photograph is a huge mirror, probably 20 feet in height. I asked them to kiss for the reflection image. So the reflection does not match the centre embrace, they are kissing in the reflection. When you look at the photograph quickly you think the image in the mirror is a reflection. But then you realize that the reflection is a time change and a completely different moment. That idea stayed with me for a while. "

Here are the photographs:


Wilkes' recently photographed The Highline using the same technique:

As Wilkes explained in the F-Stop interview:

"The shot appealed to Wilkes because of the “intimacy” it offered with the buildings. But shooting from rooftops didn’t satisfy him. “Everything was a little too high,” he said. “I was losing the intimacy.” So he shot from a cherry picker at points throughout the day, then worked with a retoucher to electronically blend the images together. He wanted to capture the floating, expansive feeling that had drawn him to the Highline to begin with, and settled on a 17th Street location. This ended up being key, as the other challenge of the shoot was finding an effective transition point between day and night shots. Wilkes picked a good spot.

Wilkes shot this image using a 39 megapixel digital back on a 4 x 5 camera. He embraces large-format photography because it gives his all-important details greater depth. “So much of my work is about levels of story,” he says. He rotated the camera manually on a tripod throughout the day as he shot tons of images of the Highline while different street scenes unfolded within his frame (“The last thing you want to do is come back to the studio and have this great picture but realize you’re missing something”). He varied his exposure throughout, keeping a constant f-stop but varying the shutter speed to allow for proper exposure as the sun set. Periodically he and his retoucher, who was in the cherry picker with him, would load images onto a laptop and start creating rough comps to make sure he was getting what he needed."

To see more of Stephen Wilkes' work, please click here. The full collection of  "New York, Day To Night" will be exhibited at Monroe Gallery of Photography April 27 - June 30, 2012

Monday, December 7, 2009


We started to write about this weekend's special book signing by Neil Leifer of his recent book, "Guts and Glory: the Golden Age of American Football". But another blogger did a better post. See below.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Copyright M.G. Bralley

These are Michelle and Sidney Monroe. They own 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 chronicle recent history through the lenses of some of the most prominent photojournalist 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.

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 Sport 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 print 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, Liefer asked that I send a picture of him with the Governor, so he has an MGB original.

About  M.G. Bralley

I am a retired law enforcement officer who has a life long interest in photography and journalism. I focus mainly on issues of local politics, though I will step off into state, national and international issues. I have a history of watching government closely with a particular eye on process. I look carefully for the unusual, quirky and any exceptions that are granted which cause unfair treatment amongst citizens or businesses. I view governmental activity first through a constitutional lens. Then I assess adherence to process, the rule of law and the rules that govern them. I look for and attempt to expose hypocrisies and inconsistencies. I also look for laws that do not forward the ideals of human rights. I will rail at bad, unenforceable, unconstitutional laws and those who create and attempt to enforce them. Original photographs, photographic and video services are available upon request.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Stephen Wilkes’ Ellis Island Exhibit at Steuben Glass Gallery

Stephen Wilkes’ Ellis Island Exhibit at Steuben Glass Gallery

All rights reserved © Bernstein & Andriulli

Steuben Glass has made functional and fine art glass products for over 100 years in New York. Their involvement in the arts has lead them to collaborate with artists such as Isamu Noguchi, Miro, and Georgia O’Keefe. The Madison Avenue flagship store houses an expansive gallery that is now showing the work of Stephen Wilkes.

For five years, Wilkes photographed the hospital complex on Ellis Island where immigrants with questionable health and contagious diseases were kept. Some eventually joined their families across the Hudson River, while others perished before they could reach their new life.

Wilkes’ photographs are of abandoned rooms with peeling paint and empty hallways overtaken by plant growth. Since his time on the island, the hospital buildings have been renovated and the signs of the past have been removed. Visit the exhibit Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom to get an eye-opening look into what was once the gateway to America, captured in time.

Stephen Wilkes, Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom

The Steuben Gallery

667 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10065

Showing now until January 4th, 2009

Robert Nachman, Creative Director of Steuben Glass, talks about the impact of Stephen Wilkes’ work, the importance of history, and more.

Hospital extension, women’s ward

How did you first learn about Stephen Wilkes?

I first saw Wilkes’ work at Photo LA several years ago when he just started to do the Ellis Island photos and I’ve always been a personal fan of it.

What is it about Wilkes’ work that you think resonates with viewers?

I think just on a visceral level, it’s the beauty of the colors and forms… so on one hand you have the beauty of the imagery, the colors, the forms, the textures, and the light – it’s so gorgeous. But you also have this wonderful evocative equality of the history [of Ellis Island] which we all sort of know. I have family that went through Ellis Island, so knowing what that place was and seeing what it looks like now, it brings up all this emotion of this important place that’s been lost in time.

Psychiatric Hospital, wall study with light switch

How has the response been to the show?

For the people that aren’t familiar with it, there’s a two part unveiling for them where they first look at the pictures, and then when they realize what it is they are completely taken aback. For those who are familiar with it or have read the sign, they are also taken aback by the experience itself. I think that the size of the images are breathtaking and people have a strong reaction to it.

Also, everyone has their favorites which is true of most exhibits. Even though there’s a range of shots – exterior, interiors, one is just a wall – there are still wonderful details. For example, there’s this one room with a tiny mirror hanging above the sink and the Statue of Liberty is reflected in it (Tuberculosis Ward, Statue Liberty, Island 3). And then when they see it everyone goes “oh my god!” and there’s this wonderful process of discovery.

L to R: Tuberculosis ward, Isolation ward

What is the lasting impression that you think the show leaves?

I think the most memorable image by far is the cover of the book, the light is so beautiful and with the foliage it looks jewel-encrusted. The whole show evokes the imagination of a place lost in time, like Miss Haversham’s house crawling in vines in Great Expectations or when the kids return to Narnia and find everything in ruins, but the amazing part is that Ellis Island is actually real. It’s just a wonderful emotive experience that you go through when you explore the show. If you have been out to Ellis Island since the renovation, to see these images of complete dilapidation and then to learn how it has been brought back to life again, there is so much that future generations can learn.

Definitely. Ellis Island remains a living monument in American history. Stephen Wilkes’ photographs takes viewers on a journey through a past that will never be seen again. Thank you for your time Robert.
-Helen Shih

Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom is now on view at Steuben Gallery on 667 Madison Avenue, New York, NY until January 4th. View more work by Stephen Wilkes.

A vine covered corridor, the cover of the book (Corridor #9)

Nurse’s quarters

The Autoclave

Window Study, Isolation ward

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Thursday, December 3, 2009


Santa Fe--Monroe Gallery of Photography, 112 Don Gaspar, is pleased to host a special exhibition and book signing celebrating Neil Leifer's most recent book, "Guts and Glory: The Golden Age of American Football”. The exhibition opens with a reception for the photographer on Friday, December 4, 5 - 7 PM, and Neil Leifer will sign books that evening and again on Saturday, December 5 from 1 to 3.

Leifer will also sign his earlier books, "The Best of Leifer"; "Portraits", and Baseball: Ballet in the Dirt". Supplies are limited.

Published by Taschen, "Guts and Glory" contains the best of sports photographer Neil Leifer's 10,000 rolls of football pictures, including hundreds of previously unpublished images. It is a glorious oversize-volume format that weighs 7 pounds, with red-and-white silk cloth overboards and is a limited edition of 1500 numbered and signed copies. Neil Leifer became a professional photographer while still in his teens. In 1958, he took the picture that remains one of his most famous to this day - Alan Ameche's game-winning "Sudden Death" in a game to this day called "The Greatest Ever Played," Beginning in 1960 as a freelancer, his pictures began regularly appearing in every major national magazine, including the Saturday Evening Post, Look, LIFE, Newsweek, Time and, most often, Sports Illustrated. By 1990, his photographs had appeared on more than 200 covers.

Neil Leifer is responsible for photographing many of the images we hold in our minds of the iconic figures of sports history. His unforgettable photograph of Muhammad Ali standing over a fallen Sonny Liston in 1965 has been called perhaps the greatest in sports history.

Gallery hours are 10 to 6 Monday through Saturday, 10 to 5 Sunday. Admission is free. For further information,  please call: 505.992.0800; E-mail:

Monday, November 30, 2009

"ON THE TOWN" OPENS; Feature article in Pasatiempo Magazine

Bob Gomel: The Red Onion, Aspen, Colorado, 1962

The Santa Fe New Mexican's Weekly Magazine of Arts, Entertainment, and Culture
November 27, 2009

by Robert Nott


In the classic 1949 MGM musical On the Town, some of the main members of the ensemble sing a spirited homage to the notion of playing all night long, with such double-entendre-laced lyrics as, "There's a lot of nice things to do in the dark" and "We're riding on a rocket, we're going to really sock it!" The town was New York, but the idea of going on the town could fit any city where fun could be found at any time -- and in myriad ways.

On the Town: Photographs of Timeless Celebrations and Merriment, an exhibit of roughly 55 photos, gives you the famous and the forgotten celebrating life, love, lust, and liquor. It opens on Friday, Nov. 27, at the Monroe Gallery of Photography. "After the year we've all been through, it's time to have a little fun," gallery co-owner Sidney Monroe explained of the decision to mount the show. "There's a lot of different definitions for 'on the town.' It can be as simple as going to a diner or café for a meal or as opulent as Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow dressing up to go to Truman Capote's ball."

Too bad the photo of Frank and Mia, a 1966 shot by Harry Benson, makes the pair look as if they're going on the warpath. Sinatra offers the hint of a weak smile to the cameraman, but his look suggests either that he's not happy being caught in a silly black mask or that he's missing Ava Gardner. Farrow is looking down, probably wishing she were on the set of Roman Polanski's creepy thriller Rosemary's Baby instead.

Bob Gomel caught a lonely-looking Marilyn Monroe sitting at a dinner table, circa 1961. Balancing out her sorrow is another shot by Gomel of an aged Dr. Benjamin Spock, cigarette in mouth, shown cutting a rug in his (or somebody's) living room.

But it is the non-celebrities who seem to be having the most fun on the town. Gomel caught a peak moment at a party scene at Aspen's famed bar the Red Onion on a winter night in 1962. The bartender looks bemused as the mostly male crowd focuses on the antics of a group of sweater-clad ski bunnies who seem to have stumbled out of a Beach Party (or Ski Party, in this case) film to do an impromptu musical number. The venerable Red Onion closed in 2007, but is due to reopen sometime this year, based on recent newspaper reports. So, it may once again be a place to go on the town.

Other hangouts featured in the show were so much a part of their time that they must have closed by now. For instance, what's the status of Arnold's Café in Lovelady, Texas, where Guy Gillette photographed some diners contentedly sitting at the counter? "Arnold's burned down. It's not there anymore," said his son Guy Gillette Jr., who lives in nearby Crockett, Texas. "The picture was taken in '56 and it was a great little place but no more. That's me in the picture -- my brother and I and our grand-father. I'm the older of the two brothers. What we're having there is just sodas." (A king-size Coca-Cola cost 6 cents then, according to a placard.) "But the food was good as I recall -- real café chicken-fried steak style stuff."

In a follow-up message, Gillette said he talked to someone in the know who recalled the café burning sometime in the late 1960s.

And what about the Dreamland Dance Hall in Turnbridge, Vermont? Verner Reed shot five dispirited-looking people sitting and standing outside it, as if they are waiting for its doors to open, hoping to catch someone passing by who can spare them a dime. The hall, built in 1920 by a pair of residents involved with the Turnbridge World's Fair (which began in 1867 and is still an annual event), was a popular meeting place until the 1980s, according to local historian Euclid Farnham. So what happened to the place?

"I'll tell you what happened," Farnham said by phone. "Every so often we get tremendous snow years. And 25-some years ago we had 100 or 150 inches of snow; we had a mammoth blizzard and before anyone could get in there to shovel the roof off, the building collapsed under the weight of the snow. We were still using it as a dance hall even in the 1980s, but dances of that type had faded and the crowds were far less than we used to have. Interestingly, the dance floor was made up of old railroad ties. That sounds like a horrible dance floor but they sanded the railroad ties, and it was one of smoothest dance halls you can imagine. I learned to dance there."

On the Town also includes images of Times Square (which is still around), Hollywood's famed Villa Capri restaurant (built in 1957 and demolished in 2005), and a shot by Martha Holmes for Life of a fly-in drive-in, where you could pilot your plane onto a small landing field and then see a movie -- hopefully not Airport! Monroe Gallery's research shows that this unique combination was probably in Monmouth County, New Jersey, and some online bloggers suggest that the parts of the drive-in are still visible, though the drive-in closed long ago.

Many of the exhibit's photos were taken by men and women who had international reputations for covering wars, riots, tragedies, and political figures and events. But with these shots, these photojournalists, like the human subjects they focused on, clearly let down their hair.

"And collectively," Monroe noted of the exhibit, "you can't help but smile."


On the Town: Photographs of Timeless Celebrations and Merriment
Opening reception, 5-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27, through January 2010

Monroe Gallery of Photography, 112 Don Gaspar

Steve Schapiro: Hullabaloo with Chuck Berry, New York, 1960

Guy Gillette: Arnold's Cafe, Lovelady, Texas, 1956