"one of those giants, Art Shay, still walks among us"

March 11, 2015 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography

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Via Crain's Chicago Business

The golden age of photojournalism may be long past, but the work of its giants—Walker Evans, Margaret Bourke-White, W. Eugene Smith, Henri Cartier-Bresson—continues to amaze and inspire. Many Chicagoans may not realize that one of those giants, Art Shay, still walks among us.

A new exhibit at the Art Center Highland Park, "Art Shay: His Life and Love," combines many of the greatest hits of his long career as a shooter for Time, Life, Fortune and many other mid-20th-century photography showcases, with a subgroup of more personal images of his 67-year marriage to Florence Shay, a rare-book dealer in Highland Park.

The photos of Florence, who died in 2012 of cancer, are included in "My Florence: A 70-year love story," published in January. These are among the most poignant images in the show: vivacious and flirty in Las Vegas, hard at work at her book shop, in the latter stages of terminal illness.

More immediately accessible to many viewers will be Shay's candid and uncannily revealing portraits of many of the 20th century's leading figures, including Marlon Brando, Muhammad Ali, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. In every case, Shay, now 92, captures his subjects in some unguarded moment that suggests an aspect of his or her personality that was rarely glimpsed.

The show also includes some of Shay's hidden-camera work. "I once shot some photos at a Mafia trial in Columbus, Ohio, in a courtroom where cameras were not allowed," Shay says. "I later got a letter from the prosecutor that said: 'Mr. Shay, the next time you are seen in Columbus, you will be subject to arrest for using a camera in the courtroom. P.S.: How did you do it?' "

Through April 4 (free)

Monroe Gallery of Photography will feature several of Art Shay's photographs during the AIPAD Photography Show at the Park Avenue Armory (Booth #119), April 16 - 19, 2015.

Tags: photojournalism AIPAD Art Shay Chicago Life Magazine photographers