Santa Fe-- Monroe Gallery of Photography, 112 Don Gaspar, is honored to announce a retrospective exhibition of photographs by the renowned photographer Eddie Adams. The exhibition opens with a public reception with Adam’s wife, Alyssa Adams, on Friday, April 25 from 5 – 7 PM. “Armed With A Camera” will continue through June 27.
The exhibition of more than 60 photographs spans the entire range of Adams’ legendary career, and includes rare vintage work prints from the personal studio collection of Eddie Adams. This year marks with the 40th anniversary of Adam’s iconic "Street Execution of a Vietcong prisoner", taken in 1968 in Saigon during the height of the Vietnam War. The shocking photograph, of the Chief of Police shooting a member of the Vietcong in the head, instantly appeared in newspapers and magazines world-wide and has been widely credited with turning American popular sentiment against the Vietnam War.
The exhibition coincides with the release of the documentary film “An Unlikely Weapon” produced and directed by Susan Morgan Cooper. The film covers the life and career of Eddie Adams, with lengthy interviews with the late Adams as he reflects on the burden of responsibility that came with his profession. The film is currently submitted to several international film festivals. Also, this fall “Eddie Adams: Vietnam” will be published by Umbrage Editions, with never-before seen photographs, field diaries, and memoirs with an essay by Hal Buell, Associated Press Bureau Chief, and other notable contributors.
With his signature hat, ponytail and unassuming disposition, one might not realize that photographer Eddie Adams covered 13 wars, beginning with a stint as a Marine Corp combat photographer in Korea in the early 1950s and ending in Kuwait in 1991. He did three tours of Vietnam with the Associated Press and won the Pulitzer Prize for photography for the execution photograph. In his more than five decades as a working photographer, Adams received more than 500 awards honoring his work, including World Press, New York Press, National Headliners and Sigma Delta Chi Awards. He said he liked getting them; that they're nice. But he didn't display them. He didn't display the famous photograph from Vietnam, either. If he'd had his way, that photograph would never be released for publication again.
"Two men died that day," Eddie has said, "the Vietcong and Colonel Loan who shot him. Pictures do not always tell the full story, and this is one case where that is true." Not many know that Loan was highly respected by his men and by the Vietnamese, Adams recounted. He was an educated man dedicated to the survival of his nation. Earlier on the day Loan’s aide, his aide's wife and his aide's children were executed by the Vietcong in the fury of the Tet offensive.
One of the most honored and most published photographers of our time, Eddie Adams is also one of the most versatile: Adams photographed some of the most celebrated people in the world: Ronald Reagan, Fidel Castro, whom he liked, and Pope John Paul II; Jerry Lewis, Clint Eastwood and Bette Davis; Big Bird and Mickey Mouse. All of them, and many more, have looked into Adams' lens. He remains one of the most published photographers in the U.S., with his work gracing the pages of newspapers and magazines like Time, Newsweek, Life, Paris Match, Parade, Penthouse, Vogue, The London Sunday Times Magazine, The New York Times, Stern and Vanity Fair. His career spanned journalism, corporate, editorial, fashion, entertainment and advertising photography. He photographed leaders in all fields, from politics to the superstars of film, television, sports and high fashion. His portfolio includes one-on-one sessions with seven U.S. Presidents and sixty-five Heads of State. "Eddie's genius is his talent for capturing tension in every photograph, whether it be the still of a murder or the animation in the eyes of a movie star," said PARADE Chairman Walter Anderson. "He is eclectic, incomparable and cantankerous. He is unyielding in the pursuit of excellence."
It's not the war photographs or the celebrity photographs or the awards that define what's most important about Adams' work. It's the photographs that have moved and inspired people to do good; the photographs that have led to important change in government policy and people's lives. He was proud of his 1977 shot "Boat of No Smiles," depicting 50 Vietnamese on a 30-foot fishing boat fleeing their homeland. It was such a dire time for them, not even the children on board could find pleasure in a boat ride. It was Adams' photographs of these "boat people" that ultimately led Congress and President Jimmy Carter to open the door to the U.S. to more than 200,000 Vietnamese refugees. “This was the best thing I ever did in my life,” Adams said.
In 1995, Adams created a photograph essay for PARADE of some of "the most amazing, most beautiful children in America." One image — that of a 3-year-old with leukemia, who was photographed with her security blanket — moved one woman so much that she started an organization. Project Linus, founded by Karen Loucks, is a non-profit that provides security blankets to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need through the gifts of blankets and afghans created by volunteers. Today, there are more than 300 chapters of Project Linus in the U.S. and abroad. Eddie gave generously of his talent for nonprofits, including photographing every Jerry Lewis telethon benefiting muscular dystrophy victims and research.
Born Edward Thomas Adams in New Kensington, Pa., on June 12, 1933, he began his photography career as a high school student in Kensington, Pa., shooting weddings and other events for $20. Adams was a Marine Corps combat photographer in the Korean War, and then settled into a decade of photojournalism beginning with the New Kensington Daily Dispatch. From there, he went to the Enquirer & News in Battle Creek, Mich., and then the Philadelphia Enquirer and the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. In 1962, he joined the Associated Press. After a decade, Adams left the AP for TIME magazine and freelance work. He rejoined the AP in 1976, where he was the first and only photographer to hold the title of special correspondent. In 1980, Adams became a PARADE magazine photographer and, from 1982-2004, was a special correspondent to PARADE, which has featured more than 350 of Adams' photographs on its cover over the years.
A crafter of images, Mr. Adams also cultivated his own -- a prickly personality with a studied flamboyance that included a black wardrobe, a neck scarf and a wide-brimmed porkpie hat.
“Some assignments have been fun,” others have been important photography because they came from the heart. A photograph can change the world and move mountains. It is through a photograph that we remember people and places the way they were. Some of the pictures I have taken tore my heart out. I have seen all kinds of things in my life and I have walked away from taking many pictures. I found out that I put myself in other people’s shoes and often feel that I became my subjects. When someone was wounded I felt the pain. I got tired of crying. Each year we have a memorial service for my friends killed in Vietnam and I still cry.”
Eddie Adams passed away on September 19, 2004. His legacy continues in the annual photojournalism workshop, Barnstorm: The Eddie Adams Workshop, which he created in 1988, and is still running strong today.
Monroe Gallery of Photography was founded by Sidney S. Monroe and Michelle A. Monroe. Building on more than four decades of collective experience, the gallery specializes in classic black & white photography with an emphasis on humanist and photojournalist imagery. The gallery also represents a select group of contemporary and emerging photographers.
Gallery hours are 10 to 6 Monday through Saturday, 10 to 5 Sunday. Admission is free. For further information, please call: 505.992.0800; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Interviews with Alyssa Adams and colleagues of Eddie Adams and Media kit with images available upon request