This month, as we examine new ways of displaying images online, the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson is looking at how shooting for the printed page influenced a renowned photojournalist’s work. Charles Harbutt, esteemed by photographers for his compassionate approach and his artistic vision, spent 20 years shooting for mass-market magazines. When he became frustrated with the market for news photography and wanted to pursue a more personal and intuitive approach to photography, he turned to books and gallery exhibitions as an outlet for his work. The Center for Creative Photography, which since 1995 has held all of Harbutt’s negatives and master prints, is now displaying 150 photographs he shot on assignment along with tearsheets to show how the work was edited and published. The exhibit also includes work prints he made from his 1959 trip to Cuba at the invitation of the Castro underground, and some American responses to the images, as well as a proposal for a book of the Cuba work that was never published.
In all, Harbutt has produced three monographs. The most recent, “Departures and Arrivals” (Damiani, 2012), is a collection of his favorite photos from throughout his career. In the introduction, Harbutt says that within the book, “There are pictures of men and boys, women and girls, statues, pensive monkeys, moments that took my breath away, scared me, made me smile.” The Center for Creative Photography show includes all the photos in the book and a short video in which Harbutt and his wife and frequent collaborator, photographer Joan Liftin, describe the process of making it.
“Charles Harbutt, Departures and Arrivals” is currently on view at the Center for Creative Photography in Tuscon through January 26, 2014.