jack photo

Pith, soul, heart needed for a better reality

Savannah Morning News
September 2018
By Jane Fishman

“Oh, Jack. Thank you for the images, the memories, the restraint, the simplicity. Thank you for showing us again and again and again the core, the purity, the beauty of a listing sailboat, a flying shrimp net, a flying curtain over a couple of single beds or even and — this is my favorite — a dangling light bulb. We need to see that. We need to see pith, soul, heart in a single frame.

Oh, Susan. Thank you for keeping the images alive, for crossing all the t’s, for dotting all the i’s, and maintaining the integrity of the work, for daring to open a gallery “way out there” on Mills B. Lane Boulevard, away from the hustle, the bustle, the high rents of downtown.

In a world of bots, robots, Twitter bots, spam bots, Botometers, social bots, malicious bots, botnets, honeypots, error codes, trolls, firewalls, viruses, worms, bugs and our own 21st century version of the Trojan horse, you both show up to remind us there is another way, there is another reality.”

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Unplugged: Jack Leigh’s photos of Savannah still manage to mesmerize

Augusta Chronicle & Savannah Morning News
August 2018
By Bill Dawers

“Last week’s opening reception for the major exhibition of Jack Leigh’s photographs at Laney Contemporary drew a predictably huge crowd. Many of the attendees, myself included, knew Leigh and have for years been enthralled by his intimate portrayals of the Lowcountry and its people.

While talking with a friend at the reception, I was shocked to realize that Leigh passed away in 2004 — much longer ago than I would have guessed. As a person and an artist, Leigh seems in many ways like he is right here with us.

As I wandered through “The Light, The Heat: Summer in The South,” I was impressed yet again by the professionalism of Laney Contemporary. Owner Susan Laney, who managed Leigh’s own gallery for years and now manages his estate, has organized yet another museum-quality exhibition at the private gallery.

But whether you knew Leigh or not, the work speaks for itself.”

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1.6 Jack Leigh

SavArtScene: Jack Leigh exhibit ‘The Light, The Heat’ captures summer in Savannah

Savannah Morning News
August 2018
By Kristopher Monroe

“Photographer Jack Leigh is probably the most iconic artist associated with Savannah.

His photograph of the ‘Bird Girl’ statue featured as the cover for the novel “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” is one of the most recognizable images of the region. The exhibition currently on view at Laney Contemporary Fine Art, “The Light, The Heat: Summer In The South” is a breathtaking journey through Leigh’s artistic peregrinations throughout the Lowcountry.

The exhibition includes some familiar and some rarely seen images from Leigh’s oeuvre, but what’s perhaps most moving is the obvious love and personal care that was put into the show. Susan Laney ran Leigh’s gallery while he was alive (he passed in 2004) and now maintains and represents his estate. She is understandably protective and incredibly respectful of Leigh’s legacy, as this show clearly evidences.”

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1. Grand Opening

8 Reasons Savannah Should Be Your Next Southern Getaway

Travel + Leisure
June 2018
By Chelsea Bengier

“Home to the Savannah College of Design and SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah is an arts and culture powerhouse. Reinforcing its creative image is the city’s newest art gallery, Laney Contemporary, from gallerist and private art dealer Susan Laney. Located on the outskirts of town, the gallery is well worth the drive to see contemporary photography, paintings, and immersive video installations from the likes of Jack Leigh and Katherine Sandoz.”

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smoke and mirrors

Art Review: Smoke & Mirrors: Kevin Cooley at Laney Contemporary in Savannah

May 2018
By Lisa Jaye Young

“Los Angeles artist Kevin Cooley has created an atmospheric, tweet-activated installation at Laney Contemporary in Savannah that marks the constant slippage of time — time at the speed of sea levels rising and polar caps melting. The indirectly participatory work is engaged every time anyone, anywhere, tweets the hashtags #smokeandmirrors, #climateaction, or #ecofriendly, that real-time Twitter text is projected into a mirrored room filled with a dense fog emitted by visibly low-tech fog machines that hiss continuously in the corners. Each tweet — such as “pipeline spills raw crude,” “eco-housing demanded,” “trees help fight climate change,” “Trump kills NASA’s carbon monitoring,” and “increase of UV radiation in the arctic” — is like a ticking clock, indicating the passage of time as climate concerns mount and we collectively do nothing to stop it.”

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SavArtScene: Laney Contemporary showcases Savannah artist Betsy Cain’s abstract landscapes

Savannah Now
April 2018
By Kristopher Monroe

“When I started Laney Contemporary in 2008, I was sort of looking around for what was next after closing the Jack Leigh Gallery,” says Susan Laney. “I hadn’t planned on opening a gallery space, not specifically anyway. But I knew that I wanted to start working with artists that weren’t just photographers because I’d only worked with photographers in the past. And I was starting to personally have really strong interests in other forms of art and what was being made in and around Savannah. I was also having clients that were looking for certain things, so all of it led me to Betsy… I knew that I wanted to show her work. I knew that I wanted to have her as a part of what we’re doing, because I think that she’s one of the jewels here.”

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midnight brings cash 2

It Begins with Presence: The Photographic Legacy of Jack Leigh

Paprika Southern
Spring 2018
By Bevin Valentine Jalbert

In the 1983 book Oystering: A Way of Life, Jack Leigh begins his introduction by
relating a childhood memory of an oysterman, saying, “I felt him to be a special
presence, a mysterious spirit who knew secrets I had yet to dream.” The prose is
layered and atmospheric, and Leigh sets the scene describing the man’s disappearance into the fog, even as the image recedes into memory. This man, a memory, no longer here, remains present in Leigh’s telling of the story, and Leigh captures his presence, if not literally, in the figures of the oystermen he photographed in the early 1980s. These workers become stand-ins for the absent man of Leigh’s memory.

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7. Kaaterskill Falls, tributary of the Hudson River, New York, 2016

SavArtScene: Photographer Ansley West Rivers shows the immortality of water

Savannah Now
February 10, 2018
By Kristopher Monroe

Ansley West Rivers takes photographs that seem to convey the essence of the thing she’s photographing and not always the material actuality of the thing. She uses her camera to peer into the spirit world of nature and transmit back an image of what we may not be able to perceive with our corporal eyes.

Rivers’ “Seven Rivers” exhibition, which is currently on view at the newly opened Laney Contemporary Fine Art gallery, is a stunning visual journey that leads viewers to what Rivers calls “a precipice in the history of water.” The photographs aren’t meant to be a documentation, but rather “a depiction of unseen changes occurring on all rivers.” The photographs portray the Colorado, Missouri/Mississippi, Columbia, Rio Grande, Tuolumne, Altamaha, and Hudson rivers in large-scale compositions of staggering beauty and mysterious hues.

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sight unseen eny lee

Eny Lee Parker’s New Ceramic Chainmail Has a Secret Message Encoded in Its Links

Sight Unseen
January 22, 2018
By Jill Singer

Where do you go after you’ve been named this year’s “breakout American design star” AND one of the best fashion brands of 2017? If you’re Eny Lee Parker, you just keep churning out incredible new work, even if you’re in the throes of an upcoming cross-country move. (Parker’s relocating from Savannah, Georgia, to New York City this month.) The triple-threat ceramicist/furniture designer/jewelry maker debuted a new collection this weekend at Laney Contemporary, a fine art gallery in Savannah. And while the new work covers some familiar ground (thick ceramic legs as table bases), Parker also dug deep into a new obsession: ceramic chainmail.

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opening notes

Opening Notes

Savannah Magazine
January 15, 2018
By Emily Testa

If you have attended an art event in the city of Savannah at any time in the past 20 years, you have probably met Susan Laney. There she is in deep conversation with an artist or patron, discussing the work as she adjusts her ever-present stack of bracelets, or connecting two people who know her, of course, but not each other. At a certain kind of party, Laney can’t take more than a few steps without being swept up into a hug. The art world is her world, so when it came time to hang her own shingle, she did things her way.

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5 Questions with Katherine Sandoz

Connect Savannah
October 18, 2017
By Rachael Flora

The month of October carries a lot of weight, from the traditional harvest moon rituals around the world to the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Matthew’s destruction here in Savannah. Katherine Sandoz’s new show, “October,” captures that range of emotion through her work. The exhibition opened on Oct. 5 at Location Gallery at Austin Hill Realty and will remain up through Oct. 27.

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City Talk: Laney Contemporary reinforces Savannah’s gallery scene

Business In Savannah
October 7, 2017
By Bill Dawers

The grand opening for Laney Contemporary Fine Art (, Savannah’s newest art gallery, attracted a huge, enthusiastic crowd.

I arrived early for the event, and the crowd was still growing when I left. Owner Susan Laney estimates the attendees numbered at least 750, but the turnout was likely well above that.

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Laney Contemporary brings unique art space to Savannah

Do Savannah
September 26, 2017
By Kristopher Monroe

On Sept. 28, Susan Laney will reveal her newest venture to Savannah. Laney Contemporary Fine Art will celebrate its grand opening with an exhibition of exceptional artistic talent along with a few surprises.

Laney has been a fixture of the Savannah art scene for more than two decades. She received a photography degree from Savannah College of Art and Design and pursued her own artistic path for some time. Along the way, she connected with the iconic photographer Jack Leigh and eventually ended up running his gallery for many years. They forged a close bond and ever since Leigh’s death in 2004, Laney has been instrumental in maintaining the legacy of the internationally heralded photographer.

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Is This Old Southern Town the Next Brooklyn?

July 31, 2017
By Katie Kiefner

With deep roots in Savannah, Susan Laney of Laney Contemporary knows that Southern art is way more than kitsch. Though the city’s premier art gallery lies on the outskirts of town, it’s well worth the drive to see SCAD graduates Ansley West Rivers’s spectral photographs and Menghan Qi’s disturbing mixed-media faceless portraits. Additionally, Laney exclusively represents iconic photographer Jack Leigh.

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Savannah | west elm LOCAL

West Elm
March 21, 2017

In 2013, west elm launched a small, experimental endeavor called west elm LOCAL. A collection of handcrafted regional goods, west elm LOCAL seeks to share the work of local makers while creating a lasting impact in the communities that we call home.

In 2017, west elm LOCAL came to Savannah.

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garden and gun

A Photographer’s Love of the Lowcountry

Garden and Gun
By CJ Lotz

Working solely in black and white film and primarily photographing the Lowcountry, Jack Leigh, who died in 2004, was known for his moody, evocative glimpses of the South he knew—shrimpers hauling in nets, oak tree limbs reflecting in water, fresh melons for sale at a roadside stand. More than thirty of the Savannah native’s pictures are now on display in a new exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, The Spirit of the Place: Photographs by Jack Leigh, which runs through June 11.

The exhibition includes some of Leigh’s most recognizable shots, such as his haunting capture of the “Bird Girl” statue in Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery, which was used on the cover of John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. More of Leigh’s work can also be seen at Laney Contemporary Fine Art in Savannah, which manages his estate.

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Works of ‘Midnight’ Artist to be Featured at The High

Midtown Patch
January 11, 2017
By Craig Johnson

The High Museum on Wednesday announced the opening of a new spring exhibit, “The Spirit of the Place: Photographs by Jack Leigh.”

Leigh, an accomplished visual artist from Savannah, has been capturing images of the South since the 1970s, along with the likes of William Eggleston and William Christenberry.

In 1993, Leigh did the piece called “Midnight,” which went on to appear on the cover of John Berendt’s 1994 book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” The bestselling book later became a movie in 1997.

“Midnight” will be included in the exhibit along with other pieces from Leigh, who works exclusively in black and white. More than 30 other works from the High’s collection will be featured in the exhibit, the museum said in a news release.

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midnight brings cash 2

Low Country Gothic: Jack Leigh at the High Museum

April 18, 2017
By Matthew Terrell

Chances are, you already know the work of Low Country photographer Jack Leigh. He provided the iconic “Bird Girl” image for the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. This one image perfectly encapsulates the Southern Gothic tale of Midnight, and helped keep the novel on the New York Times Bestseller List longer than any other. But beyond this one iconic image, Leigh, who died in 2004, is not very well known outside of the Southern photography scene. While his contemporaries William Eggleston and William Christenberry traversed the South, Leigh stayed focused on his native Savannah. “The Spirit of the Place: Photographs by Jack Leigh,” on view at the High Museum of Art through June 11, presents the life and legacy of Leigh—including and beyond “Bird Girl.” All of the photos in this show are classic silver gelatin prints—Leigh was a classically trained photographer and never ventured into the world of color.

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Art Review: Visual Art at the Westobou Festival in Augusta

October 13, 2016
By Yves Jeffcoat

“Unseen Patterns” was born out of the city’s natural borders formed by the Savannah River and Chesapeake Bay. Polish American artist Jowita Wyszomirska translates the weight of weather into works on paper and a site-specific installation, Unseen Patterns (Feb. 28, 2015, 11:41 a.m., Chesapeake Bay – Aug. 24, 2016, 9:03 AM Georgia), occupying more than a quarter of the Westobou Gallery. Laser-cut pieces of felt and Mylar teeter on hanging strands of black thread and monofilament, floating with a delicate balance offset by the darkness and heaviness of the thread.

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‘Watershed’ showcases Telfair’s photography collection with an environmental edge

Do Savannah
October 12, 2016
By Krisopher Monroe

As part of Telfair’s ongoing pursuit to share more of its permanent collection with the viewing public, an exciting new photography exhibition will run from Oct. 21 through Jan. 29. An opening lecture by assistant curator Erin Dunn set for Oct. 13 will be rescheduled because of Hurricane Matthew.

All three Telfair sites were shut down in the storm’s aftermath. The Jepson Center will open at noon Oct. 16 with a community day featuring free admission. The public can come enjoy the current exhibits, Artzeum for kids and a drop-in studio for all ages. The Telfair Academy and Owens-Thomas House will open at noon Oct. 17.

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Quilt Story
December 16, 2015

Pamela Wiley was featured in QuiltStory blog as well as her quilts shown in Laney Contemporary curated show Story Line: Wiley, Howard, and Moneyhun from this year’s Westobou Festival.

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‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ brings cash, tourists to Coastal Empire

Savannah Now
December 15, 2015
By Kim Wade

In January 1994, a little book with a big title put Savannah on the tourism trail.

Locals refer to “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” — published 20 years ago this month — simply as “The Book.” And that book is credited with attracting masses of tourists who have driven the city’s economic health in the years since.

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Savannah Now
December 15, 2015
By Allison Hersh

Jack Leigh, like all great photographers, was a master of light and shadow. Best known for his iconic image gracing the cover of John Berendt’s 1994 bestseller “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” Leigh created thousands of other photos chronicling life in the American South over the course of his career.

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Art & Soul: Photographer Lisa M. Robinson dives into ‘Oceana’ at SCAD

Savannah Now
December 15, 2015
Allison Hersh

Savannah native, Lisa M. Robinson grew up surrounded by water, but never fully appreciated its impact on her psyche until she moved to the Arizona desert five years ago.

This award-winning photographer thought the Sonoran landscape would serve as a rich source of inspiration, but ultimately realized she didn’t experience the deep connection with the desert environment she always felt with the Georgia coast.

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Good Bones Blog
October 21, 2015

Blogger Gabrielle Jade Hutchison’s featured a beautiful profile and write up on Story Line: Wiley, Howard, and Moneyhun curated by Susan Laney from this year’s Westobou Festival in Augusta, Georgia on her blog Good Bones.

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Laney contemporary’s Lisa Robinson’s Ileuvium from her most recent body of work Chronos will be up for auction in the seventh annual photobid fundraiser benefiting the infocus organization

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full circle installation shot, lenscratch

Savannah Remembers One of Its Own: Full Circle with Jack Leigh

November 1, 2014
By Eliza Lamb

Some artists set out to capture the essence of a place, and some artists are the essence of that place. Jack Leigh is one of the latter. Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia his life’s work was capturing the heart of his town and his people for the world to share. Jack started photographing in the 1970s. A graduate of UGA, he traveled all over the world but found his heart was pulling him back home to Georgia. His early works are black and white streetscapes of the urban south, never crowded or hurried. They reflect a calm and consistency that comes with the hot sun and the landscape that reminds you of the history that has come before. A man and his dog on their shop porch, a young child holding on to an old man selling “cold mellons” on the side of the road, the pure joy of a rope swing that hangs above the quiet river. These spots that only a local would know and access that only a special spirit could gain. His subjects were of all genders, races and socioeconomic classes, and it is clear in his images that he treated them all with equal kindness, empathy and respect. Jack became known for capturing this spirit of Savannah and when the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was written, he was the one the publishers turned to to create its cover – an image that would change his career and the trademark of his hometown.

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elizabeth winnel's lips

The Curious Case of Elizabeth Winnel’s Lips

Blouin Artinfo
September 21, 2014
By Neena Haridas

The world is divided into two kinds of people: the butt people, and the breast people. Fashion magazine Vogue recently declared 2014 as the The Year of the Booty, inspired by the famous posteriors of Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Lopez and Sofia Vergara. That’s as far as erotic art and human fantasy has ventured so far.

But there’s clearly more to our body than that. Elizabeth Winnel is a lip person. So, excuse her if you find her staring at your lips on the subway or bus. No, she is not being creepy. The Canadian artist/painter is looking for fresh inspiration for her next work. “The more flaws I can find, the better,” says Winnel. Ironically, her best muse and inspiration so far has been herself.

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full circle, artnet

SCAD Honors Savannah’s Own Jack Leigh with Retrospective

August 13, 2014
By Benjamin Sutton

Jack Leigh’s work is ubiquitous in Savannah. Or, rather, one of his works in particular is on view in every other downtown shop window. You may not recognize his name, but you will almost certainly recognize Midnight, his 1993 photograph for the cover of John Berendt’s novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil—or “the book,” as locals refer to it, because no other has been quite so impactful. It has become a kind of mascot for the rebirth of Savannah, so much so that the 1936 Sylvia Shaw Judson sculpture Leigh photographed in Bonaventure Cemetery had to be relocated because too many tourists were trampling the Trosdal family’s plot. Leigh never reached such a wide audience, though he was well-known in Georgia and throughout the South until his sudden death in 2004 at age 55. The SCAD Museum of Art’s new retrospective, “Jack Leigh: Full Circle, Low Country Photographs, 1972–2004,” aims to give a fuller sense of his incredible formal skills, his ease with a broad range of subjects, and his driving need to document quickly-disappearing ways of life in the region where he was born and spent most of his life.

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July 30, 2014

Jack Leigh’s iconic Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil photograph (as well as a few others) featured as PDN’s photo of the day in anticipation of the upcoming Jack Leigh: Full circle, Low Country Photographs, 1972-2004 exhibition at SCAD Museum.

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Connect Savannah
July 8, 2014
By Jim Morekis

It’s the full spectrum of Leigh’s vision and talent that will be celebrated at the SCAD Museum of Art this summer and fall, with the ambitious and extensive exhibit, “Jack Leigh: Full Circle, Low Country Photographs, 1972-2004,” timed to mark not only the first decade since his passing in 2004, but the 20th anniversary of the publication of Midnight itself.

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Live Oak and Bench, 1989


Photography Magazine
By Bill Mindlin

Savannah photographer Jack Leigh, who died ten years ago at the age of 55, is perhaps best known for his 1993 photograph Midnight, which depicts the famous Bird Girl sculpture in Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery. The photograph was commissioned by Random House for the cover of John Berendt’s immensely popular 1994 book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

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full circle

SCAD Museum of Art presents ‘Jack Leigh: Full Circle, Low Country Photographs, 1972-2004’

July 9, 2014

The Savannah College of Art and Design is pleased to announce the photography exhibition Jack Leigh: Full Circle, Low Country Photographs, 1972-2004, on view from Tuesday, July 15, through Thursday, Oct. 2, at the SCAD Museum of Art. The museum is located at 601 Turner Blvd. A free public reception will be held at the museum on Thursday, July 17, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

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Savannah Now

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil that helped make Savannah a popular tourist destination. The story centers on wealthy Savannah antiques dealer, James A. “Jim” Williams, who shot his 21-year-old, part-time employee, Danny Hansford, to death in his Monterey Square mansion in the early morning hours of May 2, 1981.

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Photo: Donald Harney ©(left); Sony Pictures Television© (right)


January 24, 2013
By David Walker

Citing the case of Jack Leigh v. Warner Brothers, the court went on to say that an accepted principle of photography is that “artists may not copyright the reality of [their] subject matter.” (The Leigh case was brought by the photographer who shot the cover for the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It was settled after an appeals court ruled that a reasonable jury might conclude that Warner Brothers, which commissioned a poster for the movie adaptation of the book, had copied the protectable elements of Leigh’s photograph, and not just the subject matter. That subject was a statue in a Savannah, Georgia cemetery.)

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At Length
By Darren Ching and Debra Klomp Ching

Lisa M. Robinson lives and works in Tucson, Arizona. Oceana is premiered at the Klompching Gallery in New York, the exhibit is on view April 27—June 10, 2011 and will then go on to be shown in Hong Kong.

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garden photographer

Farewell to a ‘Garden’ Photographer

December 31, 2007

As we come to a year’s close, we’d like to remember those we lost in 2007. There was Italian singer Luciano Pavarotti, television legend Merv Griffin, former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, Evel Knievel, Tammy Faye Baker, and recently musician Ike Turner.

But you also lose places and things over the course of the year. I got word that a gallery of Jack Leigh, a photographer I profiled when I was a reporter for CBS “Sunday Morning,” well, that it closed just last week.

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