Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Story Behind TIME's Commemorative John Lewis Cover

'It's a Picture of Someone Who Knows Who He Is.' 
The Story Behind TIME's Commemorative John Lewis Cover

By Okivia B. Waxman
July 21, 2020

In 1963, Steve Schapiro, then 28, was on assignment for LIFE magazine, photographing prominent civil rights activists, from James Baldwin to Fannie Lou Hamer. One day, while following Jerome Smith, a participant in the Freedom Rides that raised awareness of interstate bus segregation, he went to Clarksdale, Miss., to document one of the many training sessions that were taking place in church basements across the South. In those meetings, volunteers studied how to react to the racism they would encounter in their work. That day in Clarksdale, as Schapiro watched a line of ministers file into the church, he noticed among the group another well-known Freedom Rider, in a tie and button-down shirt: John Lewis. He asked Lewis if he could take his photo, and the young man agreed.

Weeks later, Lewis would become the youngest person on the speakers’ slate at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, addressing some 250,000 people from the Lincoln Memorial as the chairperson of the student arm of the 1960s civil rights movement, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Lewis, then 23, went on to represent Atlanta in Congress for three decades until July 17, when he died at the age of 80 after a battle with cancer. The picture Schapiro shot more than half a century ago is featured on the cover of the Aug. 3-10 issue of TIME, which dives into Lewis’s life, career and legacy.

“You can feel the determination in him to be who he is,” Schapiro tells TIME, reflecting on the photograph. “In this picture, you see he’s looking forward with an enormous amount of strength, in terms of how he sees the future. It’s a picture of someone who knows who he is, knows what he has to do, and for the rest of his life, after this picture, he did it.”

After that moment, Schapiro kept following the civil rights movement, too. He would go on to cover the March on Washington and voter registration efforts throughout the South. He covered the march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., photographing Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Andrew Young and Rosa Parks. LIFE also sent him to Memphis to cover the aftermath of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination on April 4, 1968. In recent years, Schapiro, now 85 and living in Chicago, has covered the Black Lives Matter movement.

Schapiro says Lewis saw the photo in 2014, after the Monroe Gallery exhibited it, and Schapiro sent Lewis a signed copy. Then, in 2015, Schapiro saw the Congressman in person for the first time since 1963. As the nation marked the 50th anniversary of the march from Selma to Montgomery, the two saw each other at different events where veterans of the 1960s civil rights movement gathered. Lewis told Schapiro that 1963 image was one of his favorite photos of himself; Schapiro says that earlier this year, aides to Lewis reached out to him requesting a version of the photo for a belated birthday party for the Congressman.

Schapiro hopes the TIME cover will inspire young people to pick up Lewis’ lifelong fight for racial equality and human rights.

“This is who he was in his time,” the photographer says. “Let’s see who you are in your time.”

Saturday, July 18, 2020

LIFE ON EARTH Exhibit in the News

We are grateful the current exhibition "Life On Earth" has received extensive coverage in the press:

The Eye of Photography: Monroe Gallery of Photography: Life on Earth

©Arthur Rothstein Legacy Project: Heavy black clouds of dust rising over the Texas Panhandle, April,1935

The Albuquerque Journal: Humanity’s footprint: Monroe Gallery photography exhibit “Life On Earth” a survey of environmental and climate issues

©Adam Karls Johansson: Greta Thunberg’s first school strike for climate outside the Swedish Parliament, 2018

The Santa Fe New Mexican: Life on Earth, a survey exhibition of work by photojournalists that spans more than 80 years 

Margaret Bourke-White/©The Life Picture Collection: Margaret Bourke-White, Louisville Flood Red Cross Relief Station, Kentucky, 1936

View the exhibit on-line here, and on our YouTube channel.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Gallery Photographer Ryan Vizzions Work Included in Magnetic West: The Enduring Allure of the American West at Figge Museum

Via The Figge Museum

Organized by the Figge Art Museum, Magnetic West features over 150 photographs by some of the most renowned photographers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Picturing the west as a metaphor for promise and peril, the exhibition explores issues of identity, implications of living in a changing landscape, and the centrality of Native and immigrant communities to the essential dynamism of the region. Including images made by artists from the U.S. and abroad, the exhibition expands the dialogue of how our view of the west has evolved from the 19th century to today.

Assembled from many public and private collections, the exhibition includes important works by Robert Adams, Edward Burtynsky, Laura Gilpin, Zig Jackson, Elaine Mayes, Chandra McCormick, Cara Romero, Wendy Red Star, Victoria Sambunaris, Ryan Vizzions, Carleton Watkins, Wim Wenders and many others.  The exhibition will also appear at the Sioux City Art Center, Sioux City, Iowa October 24, 2020 to January 17, 2021.  A catalogue will be published in conjunction with the exhibition.

The exhibition features two of Ryan Vizzions iconic images from the NODAPL protest at Standing Rock. Please contact Monroe Gallery for print information.

“Defend The Sacred”: Standing Rock, Cannon Ball, North Dakota, 2016

Last Child Camp: Protesters face off with police and the National Guard on February 1, 2017,
 near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Monroe Gallery of Photography presents two exhibitions in the gallery concurrent with on-line viewing

Monroe Gallery of Photography presents two exhibitions in the gallery concurrent with on-line viewing at The exhibits are on view July 3 through September 13, 2020; the Gallery is open to the public with Covid-19 safe operating procedures. Private viewing appointments are available by reservation. 

Ryan Vizzions: : A church flooded by Hurricane Florence stands silently in its reflection
 in Burgaw, North Carolina, 2018


“Life on Earth” is a survey of 20th and 21st Century environmental and climate issues documented by photojournalists. Our world is changing faster – and in more ways – than we could have ever imagined. With social and economic disruption on a scale rarely seen since the end of World War II 75 years ago, the Covid-19 pandemic is also forcing us to completely rethink the notion of ‘business as usual’
The Earth’s climate is changing faster-and in more ways-than we previously imagined. This exhibit of climate related images hopes to promote awareness and motivate advocacy for the health of our planet. A narrated tour is available on our YouTube channel.

Tony Vaccaro: GThe Pink  Balcony, Puerto Rico, 1951


“Grit and Red Wine” is special exhibition of photographs by Tony Vaccaro which includes several new discoveries from his archive being exhibited for the very first time. Tony Vaccaro, now 97, is one of the few people alive who can claim to have survived the Battle of Normandy and COVID-19.  Tony was drafted into WWII, in June of 1944 he was on a boat heading toward Omaha Beach, fighting the enemy while also photographing his experience at great risk. After the war, Tony remained in Germany to photograph the rebuilding of the country for Stars And Stripes magazine. Returning to the US in 1950, Tony started his career as a commercial photographer, eventually working for virtually every major publication: Look, Life, Harper’s Bazaar, Town and Country, Newsweek, and many more. Tony went on to become one the most sought after photographers of his day. Tony attributes his longevity to “blind luck, red wine” and determination.

“To me, the greatest thing that you can do is challenge the world. And most of these challenges I win. That’s what keeps me going.” –Tony Vaccaro, May, 2020