Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Eric Smith: Memorial Day, The Vietnam Wall, Washington, DC, 2006

Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service. In observance of the holiday, many people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.

Funeral for Iraq War Soldier, Morley, Michigan, 2006

Robert Capa: D-Day, Normandy, Omaha Beach, June 6th, 1944

Eric Smith: Funeral for Iraq War Soldier, Lake Orion, Michigan, 2006

Carl Mydans: Japanese Surrender on Board the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945 (©Time Inc.)

Funeral for Iraq War Soldier, Michigan, 2006

Joe Rosenthal: Marines of the 28th Regiment of the 5th Division Raise the American Flag Atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, 1945  (©AP)

Eric Smith: Veteran Master Sergeant with Patriot Guard Captian, Lake Orion, Michigan, 2006

Funeral for Iraq War Soldier, Hudsonville, Michigan, 2006

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


On May 19, 1962, screen goddess Marilyn Monroe — literally sewn into a sparkling, jaw-droppingly sheer dress — sauntered onto the stage of New York's Madison Square Garden and, with one breathless performance, forever linked sex and politics in the American consciousness. For the 15,000 spectators there that night, including LIFE photographer Bill Ray, Marilyn's "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy amplified the buzz about an affair between the two. But beyond the titillation, the moment Ray captured in this, his most iconic shot, went on to play a major role in both Marilyn's and JFK's biographies, coming as it did near the end of their short lives. As the 48th anniversary of that legendary birthday party approaches, Ray sits down with to share his photos from that night, most of which have never been seen, and to tell the story of how he overcame countless obstacles — the cavernous setting, tricky lighting, and security "goons" eager to keep the press at bay — to get The Shot.

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

Madison Square Garden Memories

"On the evening of May 19th, 1962, the brightest stars in the Hollywood galaxy joined Hollywood’s heaviest hitters and New York’s power elite at the old Madison Square Garden to celebrate with President John F. Kennedy his 45th birthday.

It was a good time to be young. The country was “moving” again. Our fathers had voted for Eisenhower; we voted for JFK. We had the Peace Corps, were going to the moon, and the New Frontier was here. It was High Tide in America.

With Jack Benny as host, and a long list of stars that featured Maria Callas, Ella Fitzgerald, Jimmy Durante and Peggy Lee, the evening was going to be great. But the moment every one of the 17,000 guests was waiting for, was for the Queen of Hollywood, the reigning Sex Goddess, Marilyn Monroe to serenade the dashing young President.

Venus was singing to Zeus, or maybe Apollo. Their stars would cross, their worlds would collide.

I was on assignment for Life Magazine, and one of many photographers down in front of the stage.

As the show was about to start, the New York police, with directions from the Secret Service, were forcing the Press into a tight group behind a rope. I knew that all the “rope-a-dopes” would get the same shot, and that would not work for LIFE, the great American picture magazine. I squeezed between the cops and took off looking for a better place.

In addition to 2 Leicas with 35mm and 28mm lenses, and 2 Nikons with 105mm and 180mm, I brought along a new 300mm 4.5 Kilfit just for the Hell of it. I started to work my way up, one level at a time, looking for a place where I could get a shot of both MM and JFK in the same frame. An impossibility behind the rope, the 300mm telephoto was looking better and better.

It seemed that I climbed forever, feeling like Lawrence Harvey in “The Manchurian Candidate” up among the girders. When I found a pipe railing to rest the lens on, (exposure was by guess), I could see JFK through the telephoto, but the range of light level was too great. I worked with feverish intensity every second MM was on stage, but only one moment was truly magical, and perfectly exposed!

When the moment came, the Garden went black. Then all sound stopped. All that low buzz/roar that a crowd gives off stopped; total silence.

One very bright spotlight flashed on, and there was Marilyn Monroe, in the dress, the crystals sparkling and flashing. Marilyn was smiling, waiting several beats, with everyone on the edge of their seats, trying to hear the silence.

Then, in her breathy, sexy, unique voice, looking the entire time at JFK in the front row, she sang "Happy Birthday Mr. President”.

No one that night could imagine that in two and a half months, Marilyn would be dead of an overdose; in eighteen months JFK would be assassinated; Viet Nam would turn into our worst nightmare; Camelot would be gone.

Marilyn wore a dress designed by Jean Louis, that had no zippers, buttons, hooks, or snaps. The pieces were sewn together on her body. It was more or less flesh-colored, and decorated with thousands of Zwarovski crystals. Adlai Stevenson described it as “Skin and Beads”.

It was auctioned off at Christie’s in New York, October, 1999 for over 1.2 million dollars. The buyers later thought it was a steal, and said they were prepared to pay 3 million.

Though the evening was long and illustrious, and Marilyn’s song was short, the world, myself included, only remembers her, the song, the dress, and JFK’s 45th birthday.

The rest is history. " -- ©Bill Ray

President John F. Kennedy at his birthday party after Marilyn Monroe Sang "Happy Birthday", Madison Square Garden, NY, 1962 ©Bill Ray

Monday, May 17, 2010


It is almost hard to believe, as it snowed as recently as May second, but summer is almost here! Memorial Day always signifies the "unofficial" start of summer, and Santa Fe is famous for its summer offerings (see the New York Times article "The Art of Being Santa Fe" ).  Here, we offer an advance look at some of the major events of this year's Santa Fe summer.

Summer is high season for Santa Fe galleries. Special gallery events and openings take place on Friday evenings, check The Santa Fe Gallery Association's website for details.  The outdoors beckons golfers, hikers, bikers, fisherman, and river rafters. And, an annual tradition going back 61 years, the Rodeo de Santa Fe takes place June 23 - 26. Sanctioned by the PRCA,  "RODEO de Santa Fe" is a big time rodeo with a small town feeling.

Santa Fe's summer really takes off in July. The first week of July and the July Fourth weekend are teeming with events.

Start the month off with a Santa Fe Fourth of July tradition: pancakes on the Plaza. The United Way hosts this annual community feast, which also includes live music and dance, kid's entertainment, art booths and a cool car show. (End the day watching a fireworks display, which begins around 9:30 p.m. at Santa Fe High School, 2100 Yucca Road.)

On Friday, July 2, Monroe Gallery of Photography hosts the opening reception for a retrospective exhibition of acclaimed photojournalist Bill Eppridge. A true American legend, 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. His assignments were as varied, exhilarating and tumultuous as the times he covered. Enjoy a rare opportunity to meet Bill Eppridge during the reception Friday, 5 - 7 PM, and throughout the day Saturday, July 3.

Also on Saturday and Sunday, July 3 and 4, celebrate the wines of New Mexico at a historic southwest ranch! Discover the delicious blends of today’s vintners at the Santa Fe Wine Festival, where you can sample and purchase varietals from sixteen New Mexico wineries, in a festive atmosphere with live music, food, traditional agricultural products and handmade arts and crafts for sale.

The Santa Fe Opera opens the 2010 season on July 2 with Madame Butterfly. Every July and August since 1957, opera lovers have been drawn to the magnificent northern New Mexico mountains to enjoy productions by one of America's premier summer opera festivals.

Next up: the country’s largest international folk art market, The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, returns for its seventh year July 9 - 11. More than 120 select folk artists from over 45 countries travel to historic Santa Fe where thousands (nearly 25,000 in 2009) of national and international visitors gather to admire and buy distinct folk art forms that express the world’s diverse cultures.

The same weekend, SOFA West returns for its second year in Santa Fe. SOFA features prominent international galleries and dealers presenting masterworks bridging the worlds of design, decorative and fine arts, showcasing the rich visual heritage of the decorative arts alongside new, innovative expressions. The works bridge historical periods, art movements and cultures, from ethnographica, Asian arts and mid-twentieth century modern to the most cutting-edge contemporary arts and design. SOFA has partnered on this year’s Opening Night with the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, and last year attracted over 10,000 fair-goers.

July 15 - 18 brings ART Santa Fe, a prestigious contemporary art fair that brings art collectors together with artists and gallerists from around the world. The fair showcases work by acclaimed masters and cutting-edge artists. The weekend includes an opening gala, a rotating exhibit of solo installations, and a keynote lecture. This year Art Santa Fe celebrates its ten-year anniversary in 40,000 square feet of state-of-the-art event space. Monroe Gallery joins galleries from the United States, China, Japan, Europe, and Latin America at this year's edition.

The month of July closes out July 24-25 with the 59th annual Traditonal Spanish Market on the Plaza. Spanish Market features handmade traditional arts by over 200 local Hispanic artists as well as continuous live music and dance, art demonstrations and regional foods. A separate youth exhibition area also features the work of some 100 emerging artists. The Market provides a unique opportunity for visitors to enjoy a taste of New Mexico’s vibrant Spanish culture, both past and present.

That's only a sampling of what Santa Fe has to offer this summer! August is just as busy, with the world-famous Indian Market August 21 - 22. See the full calendar of annual events here, and visit the Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau's website here for more information.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Special Educational Panel Discussions from The AIPAD Photography Show New York now on-line

Presented as part of The AIPAD Photography Show New York, held March 18-21, 2010, the following recordings of the Special Educational Panel Discussions are available to view on-line:

What Collectors Need to Know: The Art of Caring for Photographs

With Christiane Fischer, Anne Gibbs, Nora W. Kennedy, Peter Mustardo, and Stephen Bulger

NEW TOPOGRAPHICS: Landscape Photography Then and Now
With Rick Wester, Frank Gohlke, Alison Nordström, and Britt Salvesen

STREET SEEN: The Psychological Gesture in American Photography, 1940-1959
With Lisa Hostetler, Saul Leiter, William Meyers, Ann Thomas, and Tom Gitterman

The Collector’s Viewpoint: Martin Margulies
With WM Hunt and Martin Margulies

With Susan Bright, Kim Bourus, Martin McNamara, Andrea Meislin, Robert Morat, and Bryce Wolkowitz

Mark Your Calendar Now!

The AIPAD Photography Show New York
March 17-20, 2011
Park Avenue Armory

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


A heartfelt "thank you" to the Santa Fe Reporter for selecting Monroe gallery for special mention in the just-published Annual Manual.

"It's common knowledge that Santa Fe is the second-largest art market in the United States, and the galleries that call our town home are some of the prime movers and shakers that caused our rise to that distinction. The Santa Fe Gallery Association has info on a ton of the galleries in town, but SFR can get you started with a few of our favorites:

Monroe Gallery

Lovers of black-and-white photography will learn to make Monroe a regular stop on their gallery tours - the space regularly features the best the 20th and 21st centuries have to offer in the medium.

112 Don Gaspar Avenue

©The Santa Fe Reporter

Monday, May 10, 2010


With very little attention, recently two related and significant anniversaries passed. Friday, April 30th, was the 35th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, and last Tuesday, May 4th, was the 40th anniversary of the shooting of protesting students at Kent State University. The Vietnam era is one that most Americans would rather forget. It was also, arguably, the last war that photojournalists had the ability to freely cover a conflict.

Several iconic images were made during the Vietnam war. The Boston Globe has posted an excellent selection of 47 photographs from the Vietnam era in their Big Picture: News Stories in Photographs. It includes Monroe Gallery photographers Eddie Adams, John Filo, Nick Ut, and Sal Veder.

Why do pictures like these matter? When LIFE magazine published Margaret Bourke-White's horrifying photographs of Buchenwald in its May 7, 1945 issue, it wrote ""Dead men will have indeed died in vain if live men refuse to look at them."

Related: The Bethel Arts Center for the Arts  is currently featuring the exhibit "Eddie Adams: Vietnam".

The New York Times selected a rare sequence of three prints of Eddie Adams’s famous 1968 picture of a South Vietnamese officer shooting a Vietcong suspect in the head, flanked within the same frame by shots in which the prisoner is being escorted by soldiers before his execution and has fallen to the ground after for its AIPAD review.

Monday, May 3, 2010

STEPHEN WILKES' PHOTOGRAPHS IN CURRENT FORTUNE MAGAZINE - Watch An entire day at the world's largest retailer captured by Stephen Wilkes

On stands now, please check out this month's Fortune Magazine for Stephen Wilkes' most recent editorial work, featuring photographs of Walmart.

Stephen Wilkes took a photo every 10 seconds of the day for a time-lapse video inside Walmart for Fortune magazine. All in all, 8,640 frames were taken (1,800 that are actually used). The video by Stephen Wilkes shows the awesome efficiency of the world's largest retailer. It is also an extension of his current work exploring the concept of "telling time in a photograph".

This video has just been posted to several internet sites, already generating over 100,000 views.

Watch it here.