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5.0 out of 5 stars Iconic documentary — a must watch!
Reviewed in the United States on January 10, 2021
I thoroughly enjoyed watching this documentary on photographer Bob Gomel. There is so much work that goes on behind the scenes of an incredible photograph and hearing the stories from
Bob himself is a treasure.
Thank you to David Scarbrough for the astounding production and editing of this documentary— it is a must watch.
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging peek into 20th century American history through the lens of a LIFE photographer
Reviewed in the United States on January 10, 2021
I started this documentary not knowing what to expect or, frankly, who Bob Gomel was. Two things became abundantly clear early-on as I watched: actually, I *was* indeed very familiar with Mr. Gomel’s work as his LIFE photos are legendary, and this documentary was actually an insiders view of key moments in mid-20th century American history.
The film explores Gomel’s relationships with those people and how those relationships led to iconic imagery.
Muhammad Ali. John F. Kennedy. The Beatles. Bob Gomel really is an eyewitness to history and this documentary does a great job capturing it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Photographer Reveals Historical Background for Critical Events
Reviewed in the United States on November 16, 2020
This was a fantastic traipse through a photographer’s mind and journey. This man was an amazing person and he was right there in the middle of so many important historical events. As a historian myself, I was astounded at the “behind the scenes” vignettes regarding important events. Obviously, I recognized Mr. Gomel’s photographs, (they are part of our culture and living in America, you could not get away from Life Magazine), and learning about how they were made and the extraordinary steps that he took to obtain those shots was enlightening.
I enjoyed learning about the photography behind the magic. I would have liked to have had some more explication of what the process was and why what he was talking about in terms of shutters, etc., was important. The detail, however, was very interesting, I just got lost in the middle of that discussion. It did not detract from the visuals or the story at all, but if there is additional information, that might make the content more accessible to all.
Mr. Gomel (and Mr. Scarbrough’s presentation) made me emotional at a number of different spots. I laughed at the Beatle’s antics and cried for JFK and President Eisenhower. The iconic picture of General MacArthur and the back story on that photograph was one of the highlights.
Thank you for this documentary. I highly recommend this to any aficionado of photography, but also to anyone who is interested in American History and just where some of those fantastic shots originated.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Eyewitness Chronicle of History
Reviewed in the United States on September 18, 2020
The contrast of Gomel’s plain-spoken narrative with the visual might of his Life magazine photos makes for a compelling documentary. Scarbrough’s direction facilitates this with a split frame technique: Gomel on one side recounting the capture of his images in a disarmingly dry, detailed, and self-deprecating manner with the iconic photos on the other side speaking for themselves. The marvelous Cassius Clay series pulls the viewer in and then the Richard Nixon portrait (near) debacle sets the hook irrevocably for any photographer who’s ever had a big assignment go south.
Photojournalists will be struck repeatedly by the level of trust in and cooperation with the media then compared with now. In one anecdote Gomel persuades an air traffic controller union boss to choreograph a shot of planes stacked up nose-to-tail on a runway to illustrate the effect of a union work slowdown. The resulting image, though technically contrived, conveyed the truth of the story. In point, such an arrangement would never happen now but Life had that kind of juice. Gomel’s access to President Kennedy, including a spontaneous steak dinner (!), is particularly notable and something very much of a bygone era. Likewise the peerless Beatles shoot. Gomel, as a Life photographer, had access to the biggest music act on the planet for two whole afternoons.
The Beatles’ sequence is especially fine – many wonderful, spontaneous images – and all the more remarkable for never having been published by Life at the time it was shot. What were they thinking?
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous insights to the power of still photography
Reviewed in the United States on October 27, 2020
I thoroughly enjoyed the memoir of the wonderful still photographer Bob Gomel. He was more than just a master of still photography, he found creative solutions to record iconic images that instantly infused into our memory. As if we were there! His eye, and creative approach brought us there! There is much for modern photographers to learn from his insights, these days with smart phones at our command, few are able to tell such deep stories with one still image… you will be inspired by this documentary, and meeting this man.
5.0 out of 5 stars Iconic photos brought to life!
Reviewed in the United States on October 5, 2020
Watched David Scarbrough ‘s new documentary on Amazon about local Houston photographer legend, Bob Gomel… absolutely loved it!
In a time of hyperbolic media, this documentary was so refreshing. Gomel narrates the entire documentary and gives his account of some of his most famous work. He reminisces in such a sincere way… it felt as though I was having coffee with my PamPaw listening to the stories of an incredible life.
His talent as a photographer is evident in his work alone but learning about the moments from behind the lense and how he managed to capture some of the 20th Century’s most iconic figures was fascinating. His detailed account of the moments in history made me feel closer to each figure and brought each photo to life…
Kuddos to you David for an excellent production and well directed documentary… I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. It left me feeling a little bit closer to the icons of our past and, to put it plainly… warm and fuzzy all over!
5.0 out of 5 stars A photographer for Life Magazine and a storyteller for us all
Reviewed in the United States on September 25, 2020
I loved this and watched it twice. Bob Gomel is a man who took great, historic photos and, here, he tells the compelling stories behind the pictures and events depicted. The style is straightforward, Bob, in a chair, telling his stories in his own words, sharing the screen with his photos. It works. Bob was great and the set, the production, the editing, and the directing are just right. Watch it. Watch it now. Then, visit the website to learn more.
5.0 out of 5 stars Historic
Reviewed in the United States on September 23, 2020
Cliche to say they don’t make talent like Bob anymore, but the truth is this. It’s not about the tech, iPhones v. SLRs, or whether you give him a Hasselblad or a Polaroid, it’s about the shooter, not the hardware. With history just inches away, this guy didn’t bat an eye, and instead just looked at it right in the eye and captured the monumental moments. Straight up, Bob Gomel was and is a rock star, and sure glad producer David Scarborough documented it all.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great documentary!
Reviewed in the United States on October 20, 2020
This is one of those types of people who you can sit around and listen to his stories for hours and not be bored at all, great documentary!