Michael Dell, the founder of Dell computers announced that he and some colleagues have purchased the Magnum file of working prints..the entire collection. It will be housed temporarily at the Ransom Center of the University of Texas in Austin…where all the work will be scanned front and back thereby creating an incredibly important visual archive of the 20th Century. This news made me think about a row of boxes on the top shelf of Pix Inc.’s former Park Ave. Office. They contained hundreds of prints of Erich Salomon , (1886- 1944) one of the first and most important documentary photographers of the 20th century. Where are those prints? I don’t know. No one will have to ask that question about the Magnum archive. Thank you Michael Dell.
Magnum and I seem to have crossed passed many times always in a collegial way. I knew Cornell Capa from the late 1940’s.
In 1961 Xerox Corp. decided to have a more documentary feel to their annual report and hired me to do the shoot. It worked very well and they were so enthralled with this approach that they decided to hire the entire Magnum crew for the following year! I was not too happy about that but was busy working on the Norfolk & Western project, so it was ok. Raliroads are more interesting than copy machines.
This is where the story get’s complex. Those of you who have read my bio know that my uncle, the architect B.Sumner Gruzen was a very big influence on my work. His son Jordan, now one of the principals in Gruzen Samton Architects has a son Alex who attended the Village Community School in a class taught by my friend Sari Grossman who was the former picture editor of Argosy magazine. She had decided to make a career in early childhood education. Too bad for the photographers and good for the children. Alex and his friend Christopher Gonzalez Aller were in her class. Sari remembers them as “little terrors.” Christopher is the son of Peggy Mahoney Gonzalez Aller of Madrid, a longtime friend of my wife Elaine Sernovitz Zimbel. They both worked at the United Nations from 1953 – 1955. Christopher is now an expert in Old Master Paintings and lives in Madrid. Alex is now Senior Vice President Consumer Products Group at Dell Computers in Austin Texas. And now you see why I am writing this and why I am sending Alex Gruzen a copy of my catalogue “George S. Zimbel, IVAM 2000″ to give to Michael Dell. He really values documentary photography. It’s like family