New Exhibit and Gallery Conversation: Bob Gomel - Classics

September 29, 2023 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography






Santa Fe--Monroe Gallery of Photography, 112 Don Gaspar, is pleased to announce a special exhibition of photographs celebrating Bob Gomel’s recent 90th birthday with several never-before-see photographs from three of his most iconic assignments for LIFE magazine: photographs of The Beatles, Muhammad Ali, and President John F. Kennedy.

The exhibition opens with a Gallery conversation with Bob Gomel on Friday, October 6. Talk begins promptly at 5:30, seated is limited and RSVP is essential; contact the Gallery for live Zoom registration. The exhibition continues through November 19, 2023.

The photographs of Bob Gomel put you in a diner with Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X after Ali’s defeat of Sonny Liston, poolside with the Beatles, and in the audience at Rice University as President John F. Kennedy delivered his historic “We choose to go to the Moon” speech. This exhibit explores three classic assignments for LIFE magazine with many never-before-seen photographs of The Beatles, Muhammad Ali, and President John F. Kennedy.

 “I had no idea the 60s would be so iconic. It seemed quite ordinary at the time, but looking back on it now, I realize how fortunate I was.”

From the tumult of battle to the glamour of movie stars, from the wonders of nature to the coronation of kings, queens, and presidents, the work of LIFE photographers is as much a history of American photojournalism as it is a history of the changing face of the latter part of the Twentieth Century. On the pages of LIFE, through the images captured by these masters, the eyes of a nation were opened as never before to a changing world. 

The triumphs and tragedies of the 1960s provided photographer Bob Gomel and his LIFE magazine colleague’s extraordinary opportunities to advance American photojournalism. "LIFE was the world's best forum for photojournalists. We were encouraged to push creative and technical boundaries. There was no better place to work in that extraordinary decade." 


Invitation card with 3 images by Bob Gomel: Black Muslim leader Malcolm X photographing Cassius Clay after he defeated Sonny Liston for the Heavyweight Championship, Miami, 1964 2. John F. Kennedy, Houston, before giving his famous speech at Rice University about going to the moon, 1962 3. The Beatles on pool chairs,, Miami, 1964




Bob Gomel was born (1933) and raised in New York City. After serving four years in the U.S. Navy, he was promptly offered a job at the Associated Press. But by then, he had changed his mind about what he wanted to do. “I just felt one picture wasn’t sufficient to tell a story,” he explains. “I was interested in exploring something in depth. And, of course, the mecca was Life magazine.”He turned down the offer from AP, and began working for LIFE in 1959, producing many memorable images. When LIFE ceased being a weekly in the early 1970s, he began making photographs for other major magazines. Also in the 1970s, he branched out into advertising photography. Among other accounts, he helped introduce Merrill Lynch’s Bullish on America campaign.

Bob says, “Each time I raised a camera to my eye I wondered how to make a viewer say, “wow.” What followed were the use of double exposures to tell a more complete story; placing remote cameras where no human being could be; adapting equipment to reveal what could not ordinarily be captured on film. My goal with people was to penetrate the veneer, to reveal the true personality or character. The ideal was sometimes mitigated by circumstances, a lack of time or access. But more often than not what the mind conceived could be translated into successful photographic images. Life Magazine in the 60s sold 8,000,000 copies a week. It was a great honor to be a part of that information highway.” 


Tags: 1963 gallery talks history John F. Kennedy Life magazine Life Magazine photographers Muhammad Ali photojournalism The Beatles