Gary Gruber

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Photos & works on paper (28-works)

Gary  Gruber Bob Hope Classic
Bob Hope Classic
Archival print on cotton rag paper
19 x 13 in
Gary  Gruber Badminton
Badminton
Archival print on cotton rag paper
13 x 19 in
Gary  Gruber Boy on Jungle Gym
Boy on Jungle Gym
Archival print on metallic photo paper
19 x 13 in
Gary  Gruber Girl with Cat
Girl with Cat
Archival print on cotton rag paper
13 x 19 in
Gary  Gruber Girl with No Hands
Girl with No Hands
Archival print on cotton rag paper
19 x 13 in
Gary  Gruber Man in Dress
Man in Dress
Archival print on cotton rag paper
19 x 13 in
Gary  Gruber Man Looking at Belly
Man Looking at Belly
Archival print on cotton rag paper
19 x 13 in
Gary  Gruber Man with Opera Glasses
Man with Opera Glasses
Archival print on cotton rag paper
13 x 19 in
Gary  Gruber Man with Package
Man with Package
Archival print on cotton rag paper
13 x 19 in
Gary  Gruber Manhole
Manhole
Archival print on cotton rag paper
19 x 13 in
Gary  Gruber Men on the Street
Men on the Street
Archival print on cotton rag paper
13 x 19 in
Gary  Gruber Men Sunbathing
Men Sunbathing
Archival print on cotton rag paper
13 x 19 in
Gary  Gruber Pensive Man
Pensive Man
Archival print on cotton rag paper
19 x 13 in
Gary  Gruber The Kiss
The Kiss
Archival print on cotton rag paper
19 x 13 in
Gary  Gruber Two Chauffeurs Smoking
Two Chauffeurs Smoking
Archival print on cotton rag paper
13 x 19 in
Gary  Gruber Two Women Laughing
Two Women Laughing
Archival print on cotton rag paper
13 x 19 in
Gary  Gruber Two Young Women Swimming
Two Young Women Swimming
Archival print on cotton rag paper
13 x 19 in
Gary  Gruber Woman on Floor
Woman on Floor
Archival print on cotton rag paper
13 x 19 in
Gary  Gruber Woman Sunbathing
Woman Sunbathing
Archival print on cotton rag paper
13 x 19 in
Gary  Gruber Woman with Child
Woman with Child
Archival print on cotton rag paper
19 x 13 in
Gary  Gruber Women Sunbathing
Women Sunbathing
Archival print on cotton rag paper
13 x 19 in
Gary  Gruber Young Men with Identical Caps
Young Men with Identical Caps
Archival print on cotton rag paper
13 x 19 in
Gary  Gruber Half a Man
Half a Man
Archival print on cotton rag paper
19 x 13 in
Gary  Gruber Man and Woman on Bench
Man and Woman on Bench
Archival print on cotton rag paper
13 x 19 in
Gary  Gruber Pool Hose _30
Pool Hose #30
Archival print on cotton rag paper
17 x 22 in
Gary  Gruber Pool Hose _56
Pool Hose #56
Archival print on cotton rag paper
17 x 22 in
Gary  Gruber Pool Hose _78
Pool Hose #78
Archival print on cotton rag paper
17 x 22 in
Gary  Gruber Man with Package
Man with Package
Archival print on metallic photo paper
17 x 22 in
SOLD

Gary  Gruber

Gary Gruber

Gary Gruber Biography

 

 

Anyone could sit on a coffee shop patio for hours, taking pictures on their smart phone of passersby and call it street photography. But, for obvious reasons, that doesn’t rise to the level of what Henri Cartier-Bresson pioneered as an art form.

Like the famed French documentarian, Gary Gruber possesses a keen ability to intuitively isolate moments — on film with a “real” camera — of strangers’ daily lives. And, like Bresson’s, his images rendered in black and white set them apart from what people typically “see” so as to focus attention on the most essential — and not necessarily the flashiest — moments in time. “You walk down the street and all of the sudden all these elements come together and unconsciously you raise the camera,” Gary says. “Things happen when they’re supposed to.”

The concept of things happening when they are supposed to could explain what set Gary on the photography pathway. When he was just 6 years old on vacation with his parents and they were lunching with friends, he spent an afternoon taking photos from a hotel patio with their Rolleicord twin lens reflex camera. His father subsequently bought him a Canonet rangefinder camera, which he took with him to premed school at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa. It was there that a friend whom he describes as a “very lively, buoyant spirit,” spontaneously jumped on the hood of an E6 Jaguar and said, “Let’s pretend I’m a fashion model and you’re a photographer.” Ultimately, Gary ended up in the journalism program at New York’s Syracuse University.

Gary shot most of his street photography, from the mid-’60s to mid-’90s, on the East Coast and in Europe. Unfortunately, two years’ worth of work no longer exists: He was living in Pennsylvania, where he grew up, when Hurricane Agnes struck in 1972. “I had all of my negatives and prints from 1967 through 1969 stored in the basement of our home, which was flooded,” he recalls.

In recent years, Gary has turned his attention to series of images that, while still a mirror of ordinary life, have resulted in a considerably more studied approach. One of his recent subjects is a common sight in Southern California’s Coachella Valley, where Gary lives: pool-cleaning hoses snaking across the surface of the water. “You watch them and see the way the light reflects, the effect of wind and time of day, and it creates a harmony different from everything else you observe,” he explains of his fascination with an object that others overlook.

Though Gary used a digital camera for the series of 150 pool-hose photos, he primarily shoots on film. His talents beyond photography include building motorcycles and cars, plumbing, and carpentry. “I have a machine shop in my garage,” he says. “I fiddle with a lot of things. I have even designed jewelry for myself.” And just as he spreads his ability to work with his hands to everything from fixing appliances to rebuilding engines, Gary says he doesn’t like to “pigeonhole” himself with regard to photography. “The things I have been doing recently are very different from what’s gone before,” he says. “As you grow, you find new ways of relating to the people or things you photograph because of the way you have been affected by the life you have lived.”

Gary Gruber Statement


None of these photos were taken with a motor driven camera. None were taken with a camera that focused the lens for me, or pre-set the exposure.

In each and every instance, I had to see 1/30 of a second into the future -- it takes the mind about 1/60 of a second to shift gears from ‘thinking or observing’, to ‘doing’. The camera itself burns another sixtieth of a second from the moment the shutter release is pressed to the instant the image is recorded mechanically on film. In between these two tiny fractions, we must account for finding the correct point of focus and calculating an accurate exposure – a lot of work in a little time.

To achieve what Henri Cartier-Bresson deemed ‘The Decisive Moment’, the photographer must move mentally (and physically) ahead of the subject, anticipating not only where they will be, but when they will be. When these criteria have aligned, the photograph is taken, the moment captured, and that 1/30 of a second is preserved for all to see.  For me, this is as good as it gets.

The technology available today cannot (in my opinion) substitute for the vision a person must possess to successfully record these brief instances for posterity. You can avail yourself of a multi-frame-per-second-image-collector that can focus and adjust itself for changing lighting conditions, or one that can complete the task in well under the antiquated thirtieth of a second, but without the ‘eye’, all is for naught.

Gary Gruber
2018

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