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Tom Zimberoff
Self-portrait © 1990 Tom Zimberoff
Tom Zimberoff
Tom Zimberoff

Tom Zimberoff

Country: United States
Birth: 1951

A classically-trained clarinetist, TOM ZIMBEROFF studied music at the University of Southern California before pivoting to photography. As a photojournalist, he has covered hundreds of historical and breaking news stories published worldwide, from the renegotiation of the Panama Canal Treaties; to NATO war games, a trip to Beijing with Secretary of State Alexander Haig opening trade talks with China; the eruption of Mount St. Helens; Super Bowl XIV; to documenting East LA gangs. One plum assignment from Esquire had him photographing "The Most Eligible Women in America." He's shot many hundreds of portraits, including magazine covers from John Lennon to Steve Jobs plus two sitting American presidents (Carter and Reagan) for the covers of Time and Fortune, as well as advertising campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, Hollywood movie studios, and the US Navy.

Zimberoff was nineteen when he shot his first photo assignment for Time magazine: the farewell public recital of violin virtuoso Jascha Heifetz - a personal hero. By the time he turned twenty-one, Zimberoff had toured with the Jackson-5, the Rolling Stones, and Stevie Wonder, spent a day photographing John Lennon, and shot the first cover of People magazine. (It was the 1973 proof-of-concept issue featuring Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz.)

Zimberoff has fun describing his pursuit as a predatory sport: hunting big game. "We don't load cameras much anymore," he says, "but we still aim them and shoot pictures." He doesn't stalk his prey but gets close enough for a good clean shot (close enough for rapport as much as proximity), to avoid inflicting gratuitous wounds. He bags his quarry with a lens instead of looking down the barrel of a gun but, he also says, "I hang their heads on a wall to admire like trophies." His hunting license was a press pass. His portraits can be found in private collections and museums, including the National Portrait Gallery in London; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the San Francisco Museum of Performance and Design. Recently, his entire career archive - literally a ton of film - was acquired by the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. His first two formal portraits were Marx and Lennon - Groucho and John.

Tom's expertise with the business side of photography is evidenced by the articles he's had published in leading industry journals. He is also the author of Photography: Focus on Profit (Allworth Press, 2002), which has been used as a textbook at colleges throughout the country. He also taught briefly at several San Francisco Bay Area colleges. He taught himself to write code and developed PhotoByte®, the pioneering business-management software for commercial photographers.

It has been used to teach at colleges across the country. After a ten-year hiatus from shooting pictures to pursue his software business and writing, Tom picked up his cameras once again to illustrate another book, Art of the Chopper (Bulfinch Press, 2003), his tribute to a decades-long affinity for custom motorcycles. It became a best-seller, followed by a second volume (Hachette, 2006), with forewords by Sonny Barger of the Hells Angels and James Hetfield of the band Metallica, respectively.

As an encore to the Art of the Chopper books, Zimberoff was invited to curate an exhibition at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in 2008, where thirty of the actual motorcycles illustrated in print were displayed on pedestals as works of sculpture. They were juxtaposed with Zimberoff's photographs large-format black-and-white portraits plus documentary (candid) photos of the moteuriers who built each chopper. The "Art of the Chopper" exhibition traveled to the Appleton Art Museum in Ocala, Florida and to Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri. Tom's most recent venture is a startup dedicated to creating the first data-driven marketplace for commercial and editorial photography.

Zimberoff was born in Los Angeles in 1951 to a family with three grown siblings already a generation older - "like growing up with five parents," he says. His mother owned a boutique in Las Vegas, during the 50s and 60s; and his father was a musician who played the Vegas hotel orchestras that backed up Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Bobby Darrin et al. Young "Tommy" grew up in Las Vegas, returning to California, on and off, to live with his older sister and two years in military school), finally leaving Las Vegas for his senior year at Beverly Hills High School when his parents retired. Then he received his music scholarship to USC.

Zimberoff now lives in San Francisco, where he says he is ready to throw his lens cap back in the ring, as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic ends. In the meantime he is writing a memoir, an anthology of stories about his career. The title is A Photographic Memory. Each chapter juxtaposes one portrait with equally compelling prose about the events surrounding its creation.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Denis Dailleux
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Denis Dailleux, (b. 1958, Angers) lives in Paris when he is not in India, Egypt or Ghana. Reprensed by Agency VU', Camera Obscura Gallery (Paris), Galerie 127 (Marrakech), Galerie Peter Sellem (Francfort) and the Box Galerie (Brussels), his work has been exhibited and distinguished worldwide. He is the acclaimed author of several books about Egypt: Habibi Cairo, Le Caire mon amour (Filigranes, 1997), Le Caire (Le Chêne, 2001), Impressions d'Egypte (La Martinière, 2011), Egypte, Les Martyrs de la révolution (Le Bec en lair, 2014), Mères et fils (Le Bec en l'air, 2014), Ghana (Le Bec en l'air, 2016) and Persan-Beaumont (Le Bec en l'air, 2018). Imbued with his distinctive delicacy, Denis Dailleux's photographic work appears calm on the surface, yet is incredibly demanding, run through by an undercurrent of constant self-doubt and propelled by the essential personal bond he develops with those (and that which) he frames with his camera. His passion for people has naturally led him to develop portraiture as his preferred means of representing those whose true self he feels an urge to get closer to. Which he has, with actress Catherine Deneuve as well as with countless anonymous subjects from the slums of Cairo, working with the same discretion, waiting to get from his subjects what he is hoping they will offer him, without ever asking for it, simply hoping that it will happen. That is how he has patiently constructed a unique portrait of his beloved Cairo to create, with black and whites of exemplary classicism and colors of rare subtlety, the definite alternative to the heaps of cultural and touristic clichés which clutter our minds. Christian Caujolle These past years, while continuing to photograph Egypt, Denis Dailleux has traveled regularly to Ghana where he explores new relations with regard to body and space, life and death, community, the sea, which opens up new horizons to his photographic research. Regularly exhibited and published in national and international press, Denis Dailleux is also the winner of prestigious prizes, including the World Press Photo - Category Staged Portraits for his series "Mother and Son" in 2014, and in 2019 the Roger Pic Prize awarded by Scam for his series "In Ghana - We shall meet again ". Discover Denis Dailleux's Exclusive Interview Galleries Galerie Camera Obscura Galerie 127 Galerie Peter Sellem Box Galerie
Aleksander Rodchenko
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Born in St Petersburg on November 23rd, 1891, Aleksander Rodtchenko was one of the most eclectic artists to emerge from the Russian Revolution. Sculptor, painter, photographer and graphic designer, he is the founder of the "Russian Constructivist" movement and was also very influential in Photography and Russian Design. In 1907, after his father's death, his family moved to Kazan. In 1910, he began studies at the Kazan Art School, where he met his future wife Varvara Stepanova. In 1914, he moved to Moscow where he pursued briefly his artistic studies at the Stroganov Institute. In 1915, using a compass and a ruler, he created his first geometric black and white drawings. In 1916, introduced to Tatline by architect Viktor Vesnine, Aleksander Rodtchenko will exhibit his drawings at the "The Store" exhibition alongside painters Lioubov Popova, Alexander Exter and Ivan Klioune. Alexander Rodtchenko's work was influenced by innovative Cubist and Futuristic artists. In 1917, he applied his Futurism research on everyday life objects and designed lamps for the "Pittoresque Café", newspaper stands, buildings etc... It is at that time that he founded the left wing "Painter Syndicat". Following the Russian Revolution, as most avant-gardist Russian artists, he will become a member of several official schools (Proletkoult, Vkhoutemas), where he will become a teacher. In 1919, he will present his "black on black" paintings to answer Malevitch's "White on White" series. It is also at that time that he started experimenting with collages and photomontages. In 1921, he took part in various exhibitions, one called "5x5=25", where he presented a Monochrome triptych. Each canvas presenting a primary color: Red, yellow and blue. At the end of the exhibition, he signed the "Productivist Manifest" to abandon easel painting to focus on everyday life objects. The same year, in March, the "Constructivist" movement was created within the Inkhouk Institute. Initiated by artists, critics and theoricians its aim was to conduct "concrete experiments in the real world". From 1922 onwards he started producing graphic designs for movie, books and political billboards. In 1923, he started collaborating with various editors and till 1925, he illustrated the cover of Constructivist magazine LEF. Influenced by German Dadaist photomontages, Rodtchenko began experimenting with photographs in 1923. His first photomontage illustrated Mayakovsky's poem "About this". From 1924 onwards, his focus was on photography. He started experimenting on new compositions and techniques. His work emphasized the subject's position and movement in space combined with a diagonal framing. He also produced many portraits. In 1925, he was responsible for the Soviet Pavilion at the "International Industrial and Modern Art fair" held in Paris. In 1933, he was commissioned by Russian magazine SSSR na Stroïké, to photograph the construction of the Baltic Sea Canal.From 1934 to 1939 Rodtchenko and Stepanova, produced several photo albums: "Fifteen years of Soviet Cinema, Soviet Aviation, Ten years of Ouzbekistan". During the second world war, as other artists, he fled Moscow and took refuge in the Perm region where he will produce patriotic billboards.
Cole Weston
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Cole Weston, born on January 30, 1919 in Los Angeles, was the fourth and youngest son of famed 20th Century photographer, Edward Henry Weston. Cole received his first camera, a 4 by 5 Autograflex, from his brother Brett in 1935. Cole graduated with a degree in theater arts from the Cornish School in Seattle in 1937 and then served in the Navy during World War II as a welder and photographer. After his discharge from the Navy in 1945 Cole worked for Life Magazine. In 1946 he moved to Carmel to assist his father Edward. During this time Eastman Kodak started sending their new color film, Kodachrome, for Edward to try out. Cole took this opportunity to experiment with this new medium and eventually became one of the world’s great masters of fine art color photography.In 1957 Cole began shooting his first color photographs of the magnificent Big Sur coast, Monterey Peninsula and central California. At this time he carried on his own portrait business while assisting his ailing father, who passed away in 1958. Edward had authorized Cole to print from Edward’s negatives after his death, so Cole continued printing Edward’s work while pursuing his own fine art photography.In 1975 Cole began lecturing and conducting workshops on his father’s photography as well as his own. With his work in the theater arts Cole was a natural when it came to teaching and lecturing and his many students still comment on what a great workshop he gave. He traveled throughout the United States, England, Europe, Russia, Mexico, New Zealand and the South Pacific photographing and inspiring others with his characteristic enthusiasm and charm. In 1988 after three decades devoted to printing his father’s work, Cole at last set aside his responsibility to Edward’s legacy and refocused on his own photography. Cole had his first solo exhibition in San Francisco in 1971. Since then, his work has been featured in more than sixty exhibitions worldwide and has been collected by museums throughout the United States and Europe. His work has been featured in numerous gallery shows and publications with three monographs and numerous articles having been published on his exquisite photography. Michael Hoffman from Aperture Publications once quoted, “In the history of photography there are but a few masters of color photography, Cole Weston is assuredly one of these masters of the medium whose dramatic powerful images are a source of great joy and pleasure”. Cole passed away from natural causes on April 20th, 2003.Like Cole, who once carried on the legacy of his father’s photography, his children have decided, as a tribute to their father, to carry on printing and offer Trust prints of Cole’s fine color photographs. Cole Weston was a dedicated artist and master of fine photography. Hopefully the availability of modern prints will make it possible for photographic enthusiasts everywhere to continue to enjoy his life’s work.
Khanh Phan Thi
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