“Good photographs, like good writing, are very personal statements,” Gordon Converse once said. “A set of photographs reflects the artist's interests and feelings. They register an intimate relationship between the photographer and his subject.”
During his tenure with The Christian Science Monitor, Converse revolutionized the Monitor's approach to photojournalism, producing a number of now-iconic images and winning many awards and accolades from his peers.
A documentary about his life and work titled “Illumine All Mankind – The photojournalism of Gordon Converse," will premier in Boston at The Christian Science Publishing Society (210 Massachusetts Ave, Boston) on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 7:00 pm. If you'd like to attend, please RSVP.
The documentary will be followed by a casual Q&A with Linda Converse Bloom, Converse's daughter, Alfredo Sosa, the Monitor's director of photography and Mark Sappenfield, the Monitor's editor.
Concurrently with the documentary, the first public exhibit of a selection of Converse's photos will be taking place at Heritage Galleries in New York City (445 Park Avenue, New York, NY) from May 12, 2017 through May 17, 2017.
This exhibit will be followed by a signature auction of first edition prints that Converse printed himself. The bidding has already started online, hosted by Heritage Auctions, and will conclude on May 18 in the ballroom of the Double Tree Metropolitan Hotel in New York. Limited edition exhibit-quality reprints of all first edition Converse prints sold at auction will also become available from an online photo store that will be hosted by the Monitor.
“We're delighted to be bringing our photojournalism collection, starting with Gordon's body of work, back to life for the global audience we can now reach electronically,” says Sappenfield.
As a US Navy combat photographer in the Pacific theater during World War II, Converse sent a photo to The Christian Science Monitor for publishing. Something about it rang true, and he continued to send them images of the war for the next several years.
In 1946, on the same day he was discharged from the Navy, Converse joined the Monitor’s staff as a photojournalist, eventually becoming the paper’s chief photographer.
In a career spanning 40 years, Converse crisscrossed the US and the globe, traveling to 120 countries for the paper. His work won accolades from his peers in the industry, including the Newspaper-Magazine Photographer of the Year award in 1959.
During his tenure, his photo essays transformed the Monitor’s approach to photojournalism and cemented the newspaper a leader in photojournalism publication.
Today, these photos are being brought out from storage through a joint project between The Christian Science Monitor and Bob Pokress of Image Fortress Corp. Mr. Pokress produced the documentary about Converse as well.
“It's a professional thrill to be able to restore and bring these great works of photojournalism to a global audience. Each of the photos in [The Monitor’s] exceptional archive tell moving stories, grip your attention, and ask you to think about what you are seeing better than any words might convey,” Pokress says.