Encounters with Remarkable Men40 Years of Photography by Douglas Elbinger
Encounters with Remarkable Men
This book is an autobiographical retrospective of my forty plus years as a photojournalist and portrait photographer. Starting out in the 60′s, I did not plan on making a book, but looking back, I see how this evolved from a natural progression of life events that follow my curiosity about people and my interest in ideas about art, politics, spirituality and culture.
At an early age, I set myself on a path to meet and photograph the people who intrigued me and go to the places that inspire me. Early in life, I figured the vehicle to do this would be photography. In the early 1960’s, I remember being influenced by Matthew Brady’s photographs of the Civil War and thought that recording history with photographs was something that I wanted to pursue. I was also inspired by the photographers who appeared in Life and National Geographic magazines and so as a teenager, prepared myself for a career in photojournalism. I was influenced by the leading photographers of the time, such as Yousef Karsh, Richard Avedon, and Arnold Newman.
While in high school I had the good fortune win a ‘scholastic art award’ and gain the attention of the Chief Photographer for the Detroit Free Press, Mr. Tony Spina, who befriended me and allowed me to be his apprentice. This opportunity to work with Tony Spina and the Detroit Free Press opened doors that jump-started my career. I attended college on a full scholarship (Michigan State University 1967-1971) during the exciting and turbulent years of the late sixty’s. While studying Russian at Leningrad State University in the summer of 1968, I was visiting Kiev in August of that year, when the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia …and all American students were expelled from the Soviet Union. This also boosted my photojournalism career. While still in college my ‘cultural revolution’ photographs were frequently published in the State News, the Detroit Free Press, and United Press International. By the time I was 21, my photographs had appeared in the New York Times, Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated and many other publications. After more than forty years I still thrive on a new photo opportunity.
Although you may recognize many faces in this book it is really not about celebrity. It is about photography and portraiture. It is a celebration of my forty years in photography, which has enabled me to go many places and meet many remarkable people. The portraits appear in no particular order, and due to time and space constraints, I was not able to include as many of the faces I really wanted. Over the years and due to many moves, I have lost, through natural or self-made catastrophes, numerous negatives and files that in a sense ought to have been included …they are here in spirit. I am consoled by the hope that this book is not yet completed and is only a “work in progress.”
Many people ask ‘why men’? Simple. It was easier to sort my ‘body of work’ by gender, than by chronology or profession, and fit the content into one book that wasn’t too thick (expensive) to print and ship. I am working on a ‘remarkable’ woman book and expect to have something to preview early next year.
I welcome your questions and comments. Please feel free to contact me directly at
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Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Buy The Book
Encounters with Remarkable Men
40 Years of Photography
by Doug Elbinger
Published by Elbinger Media 2010.
140 pages. Soft cover. $ 29.00
Color and Black & White photographs
Includes interview by Nancy McCaochan
A retrospective of Douglas Elbinger extraordinary career in photo-journalism and portrait photography. Elbinger chronicles the history of the last half of the 20th century in portraits featuring some of the most influential ‘male’ cultural icons in art, politics, science and music. Yes. Doug is working on a volume of ‘remarkable women’ which you can expect to see soon.