Tony Gleaton (1948-2015)

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of photographer Tony Gleaton. Tony passed peacefully in his sleep on August 14, 2015.

Tony was a Light Work Artist-in-Residence in 1991, and since then his work has been featured in many of our exhibitions and publications. He returned to Syracuse countless times to continue working through his projects in the lab and often spoke of the ways in which his time at Light Work changed his career and life. It was our honor to work with Tony over the years and he will be missed.

We dedicate Contact Sheet 182: Light Work Annual 2015 to our dear friend Tony Gleaton, whose life and work is a testament to courage, humor, and generosity.

The Department of Art and Art History, College of Fine Arts at University of New Mexico has established the Tony Gleaton Scholarship for their MFA in Photography program. It will support MFA students in photography as they document and reimagine perceptions of racial and cultural identity. We invite you to join in making a tribute to Tony Gleaton and his work documenting the African legacy in the Americas by contributing to the Tony Gleaton Scholarship fund.

Image: Julian, San Diego County, California (from The Black Route West), 2012

Snow Monkey: A Letter from David Levi Strauss to George Gittoes

2013 Light Work AIR George Gittoes recently shared a preview link for his upcoming project Snow Monkey, a film that looks at the politics, culture, and society of Afghanistan through the stories of ice cream boys wandering wandering the streets of Jalalabad. Poet, essayist, art and cultural critic David Levi Strauss wrote George a letter in response to his first viewing of the film. He has kindly agreed to allow us to publish the letter in support of the movie, which premieres today at the Melbourne International Film Festival in Australia.

August 2, 2015 at 4:14:06 AM EDT

Dear George,

It’s 4 o’clock in the morning here, and I’ve just watched your Snow Monkey. Once I started it, I couldn’t stop. It’s a powerful film, and says more about what’s happened and is happening in Afghanistan than a hundred other docs or news reports put together.

To me, the structure is quite classical—a series of linked stories or songs—punctuated, devastatingly, by the inhuman sight and infernal sound of helicopters and drones. The allegory is stronger for being less didactic. Lives being lived. And suddenly blasted apart.

The old Kuchi shaman. Three boys with three turkeys for Eid. The tears of the 21-year-old heroin addict. The raucous parade of “The Gangs of Jalalabad.”

I laughed a lot, it’s true, but at the end of the film, I cried, and, in the end, it wasn’t for Shazia and Steel (the greatest screen couple since Bogart and Bacall), or sweet Irfan and his father, or Gul Mina (the reigning daimon of the film), all of whom are portrayed here by you like Rilke’s lions, “all unaware, in being magnificent, of any weakness,” but for everyone outside the film, locked in this madness.

Thank you for making this beautiful film, George. I’ll do everything I can to get people to see it in the U.S.

David [Levi Strauss]

Find more information about Snow Monkey here.