A tribute on Martin Luther King day

Rev. James Lawson, photographed at the Holman United Methodist Church, Los Angeles, Ca 1/12/09. Photograph by Robert GallagherRev. James Lawson, civil rights activist photographed for Time magazine. Lawson, a revolutionary figure in the civil rights movement, invited Martin Luther King to Memphis in April 1968 where he went on to deliver his famous “Mountaintop” speech. One day later he was assassinated.

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lost in the archives

Calabasas, Ca 2005

Calabasas, Ca 2005

It’s funny how looking at things with a fresh pair of eyes can make all the difference. I love this shot, but don’t think I gave it the time of day when I initially made an edit. It has such an iconic, almost biblical feel to it. David vs Goliath. The sole firefighter taking on the behemoth of a fire- breathing monster, as he turns away his gaze at the insurmountable task. Ok, artistic writing rant over.

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Skim- a personal project

Skimboarding at Aliso Beach
The is not surfing. This is running, full-sprint, launching into oncoming waves, 360 aerials, tube-riding before landing back on shore, ideally untouched. This is Skimboarding.
Skimboarding at Aliso Beach
I’ve never really known much about skimboarding, but after seeing a couple of guys casually goofing around at the waters edge in Santa Monica, I figured there has to be more to it. So I decided to follow my curiosity about this under the radar sport. I’m always looking for interesting subjects to shoot for personal projects, ideally that have not been covered too much. What I found was not just a great visual feast of a sport, but a whole sub-culture, all focused at one spot, Aliso Beach, just an hour and a half down the 405 in Laguna Beach, California.
Skimboarding at Aliso Beach
Aliso is where skimboarding was invented in the 1920’s and is still generally considered to be the best place in the world to skim. People move here just to build a life around skimboarding and compete against legends. So I set out to capture the character of Skimboard culture and with the portraits a cross-section of the devotees who make Aliso what it is today.
Skimboarding at Aliso Beach
I shot over the summer months of 2015, leading up to the World Tour event at Aliso called The Vic, on the last weekend in August. After a few weeks I got to know who’s who and a great set of characters were becoming apparent thick and fast. I love to shoot portraits of people who are still effectively in their element, maintaining that authenticity and intensity. I want you to be able to almost taste the salt-water just by looking at them.
Skimboarding at Aliso Beach
But no matter how global Skimboarding becomes, Aliso will always be its home, its proving ground, its Bansai Pipeline. For more go to: gallagherphoto.com/galleries/skim

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Neue Journal; Surfing in Iran

Very excited and proud to be a part of the inaugural NeueJournal, an art-book project published by NeueHouse. A beautiful piece featuring some amazing artists including Brigitte Lacombe, Richard Burbridge, The Edge, Frances McDormand, oh, and me! I collaborated with Taylor Steele, a legend in surf-filmmaking circles, on the story ‘Surfing in Iran’.neuejournal, surfing in iran

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World Cup self-promo shoot

Much of the life of a professional photographer revolves around creating self- funded personal work, re-enforcing the old adage “show what you want to get hired for” and these projects often become our self- promotion pieces. I also try to tie into what’s current, so i decided to create a piece for the World Cup Brazil 2014.
world cup, brazil, football, futbol, brazil2014As my studio is near the beach, i thought it was a perfect opportunity to create images that have a little Copacabana Beach football- style as well as the classic Brazil World Cup aesthetic, thoroughly encompassing the flamboyant visual beauty that is Brazilian football.
world cup, brazil, football, futbol, brazil2014The World Cup starts June 12th and will feature thirty-two of the world’s top national teams. Even larger in both viewership and revenue generation than the Summer Olympics, the biggest sporting event in the world will take place in twelve separate cities around the country, ranging from the beachfront metropolis Rio De Janeiro to the Amazon rainforest capital of Manaus.
world cup, brazil, football, futbol, brazil2014Big thanks goes out to Devin Trafford and Tadeo Cuerpaso (facebook.com/CUERPASO) for help on this shoot.

Get your samba on!

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JFK assassination- 50 years later

This month marks the fiftieth anniversary since that fateful day in Dallas when John F. Kennedy was brutally gunned down in broad daylight. A day that etched so much into the public’s lexicon…. grassy knoll, Texas School Book Depository, “back and to the left” and of course the Zapruder footage. Drop any one of these into a sentence and everyone knows what you’re talking about. And yet, fifty years later, the conspiracy theories and obsession with the assassination has not waned. If anything, since 9/11, suspicions have increased.

The 'grassy knoll', Dallas, Texas.

The ‘grassy knoll’, Dallas, Texas.


I too have fallen victim to fascination with those events, even simply about the very place where history unfolded. Dealey Plaza remains pretty much unchanged, almost a living time- capsule to November 22, 1963, and so it should. It is fascinating to walk around, stand on the same spot seen all around the world, and try to put yourself in the shoes of those standing there that day. What thoughts must have been going through there minds from one moment to the other? And then, glance around, perhaps to that grassy knoll, and ask yourself, who was standing there, if anyone, and what exactly did happen?
The view from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository.

The view from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository.


On my first trip around the US, traveling like any good European, and not a single American, i chose to travel by train, which was a great way to see the country, if not a little laborious at times. However, on the slow pull into Dallas, late at night, i was fascinated to keep an eye out for anything recognizable, particularly Dealey Plaza. I’d known that the famed grassy knoll backed onto some rail yards, so i wondered if i might travel near by. Not a moment after having that thought, i seemed to cross over a strangely familiar underpass, that was in fact Elm Street. Dealey Plaza was right there in front of me….the single most dramatic and tragic location of American, if not world history in the last century or so! It was a breathtaking discovery. I knew from past stops the train would wait for about ten minutes or so at the station, so as we crawled to a halt not more than a couple of hundred yards later, i seized my opportunity (of course i wasn’t to know i’d again be in Dallas years later to shoot Tony Romo, quarterback of the Cowboys!). Anyway, so i jumped off the train, into the balmy Texas night air, ran down the street, guessed a left, followed by another left, and soon found myself in the same spot where the mysterious ‘umbrella man’ put up his brolly, just before the first shots rang out. JFK…. may he rest in peace.
Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. X marks the spot. In this case, the exact location where the third and fatal bullet hit.

Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. X marks the spot. In this case, the exact location where the third and fatal bullet hit.


One of the most outspoken conspiracy theorists, filmmaker Oliver Stone, is taking the opportunity to look back by releasing a collector’s edition of ‘JFK’ on November 12th. The box set includes a director’s cut, a Kennedy-themed portion of Stone’s Showtime documentary The Untold History of the United States and another full-length documentary on the assassination. In addition, Stone and Warner Bros. are re-releasing JFK in New York, Los Angeles and Washington from November 8th through the 14th.
Oliver Stone, director of JFK

Oliver Stone, director of JFK

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four years ago today

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I decided to make a trip to Democratic Party Headquarters in Inglewood, South Central Los Angeles, a notoriously tough, yet deeply- rooted African American neighborhood, where i knew the Obama fervour would be high on the eve of such a historic day; the possible election of the first black US President. What a day it promised to be.

At the barbershop across the street, a popular local hangout, while still open for business everyone kept one eye on the TV with the other on the buzzcut, until the word finally came and the drinks began to flow.

But when the official results came through, and it finally seemed safe to allow oneself to truly believe what you’d previously dared not to, the emotions back at Democratic HQ were truly palpable. It was indeed a day in history. I’d like to thank everyone at Inglewood Democratic Party HQ for letting me witness it with them.


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Page One…. the movie

Sobering. That’s the first word that comes to mind, having just watched the documentary that takes you behind The New York Times. Maybe its because i love newspapers, always have. I love the pace, i love the passion, but most of all i love the topicality of it all. Whatever your working on, its the very thing people are talking about….. and i was there, to capture the very essence of it all. I’ve been working in newspapers and magazines for over twenty years now, and i look back to the frantic days at The Independent on Sunday and The Guardian with great pride. So i relate very strongly with the story of Page One, and if you love newspapers, you will too. Having said that, the argument of where things go from here, is a truly fascinating debate. To roughly quote one scene “its not whether newspapers should exist, its can they.” Truly a changing time. But i tell you, there’s no better way to for an ambitious twenty year old to start a career than racing across London, picture editor screaming in your ear, while you describe what you think is ‘the picture’ (remember this is well before digital and auto focus), editing barely dry negatives, and slapping five or six still wet 11×14 exhibition quality black and white prints onto the newsroom wall, while the picture editor, sports editor and editor in chief discuss which image not just tells the story, but does so with a visual poetry. Then seeing all that work come together on page one next day! More about Page One here, or watch it on netflix instantly.
Independent On Sunday, showjumping, sports, newspaper, photo, photographer, sports photography
Showjumping World Championships, photographed for The Independent on Sunday, 1991.

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How To Become A Pro Photographer in 5 Simple Steps

here’s a fun, honest post on how to make it, from over on Chase jarvis’ blog:

“1. Declare yourself a photographer. That’s what you ARE in life. You’re not a student, not a finance-guy-slash-part-time-photographer, not a part time anything. You’re a photographer.

2. Be in business. Make it real. Get a business bank account. Otherwise it’s just a hobby.

3. Read every book you can find at the library or online about the business of photography. Understand the rules. Because if you fail at the business part, if you can’t SUSTAIN this business, you’re not a pro. You’re unemployed, or back to part-time this or that. Action is the only thing that matters.

4. Take photographs everyday and share them, pimp them, promote them like mad. Find YOUR voice through shooting. Aim to be different, not better than everybody else. Be brutal in your edit. Put forward only your best work around the the things you actually want to get paid to shoot. Action wins.

5. Repeat.”

via Chase Jarvis blog


…. and it’s probably not done like this!

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It takes time

“It takes time to find your voice as a photographer so persevere to find what it is that drives you to do this work. Never force the work, but strive to be your best self and the beauty that is within you will be revealed.”

via thisisthewhat.com

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