Wednesday, July 1, 2009

fritz goro; gargantuan

chicago, 1954.

ghet•to |ˌgɛtəʊ|
noun ( pl. -tos or -toes)
a part of a city, esp. a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups.
• historical the Jewish quarter in a city : the Warsaw Ghetto.
• an isolated or segregated group or area : the relative security of the gay ghetto.

verb ( -toes, -toed) [ trans. ]
put in or restrict to an isolated or segregated area or group.

ORIGIN early 17th cent.: perhaps from Italian getto ‘foundry’ (because the first ghetto was established in 1516 on the site of a foundry in Venice), or from Italian borghetto, diminutive of borgo ‘borough’.

Photojournalist, Fritz Goro died at home in Chappaqua, New York as the result of cancer related illness in December, 1986. He was, the New York Times recorded, eighty-five years old.

A veteran contributor to "Life" magazine and specialist scientific journals from the late 1930's in the USA - and credited with the invention of macrophotography - some of his most outstanding images, nonetheless, were solid social reportage.

A native of Bremen, Germany, Goro (né Goreau) was editor in chief of "Munich Illustrated", a weekly publication, by age thirty, but emigrated with his wife, Grete - a sculptor - after the National Socialists seized control of the press in 1933. His arrival at the offices of "Life" in 1936-7 coincided with major scientific advances which would ultimately reach their apogee with nuclear fission and the development of the atomic bomb.

The fall-out of his last days in Germany haunt, too, his pictorials of Chicago slums in the 40's and 50's with their echoes of European ghettos, and in his portrayals of American boardroom politics.

Under the patronage of Gerard Piel, then science editor at "Life" and chairman of the board of "Scientific American" - the most prestigious of popular American science periodicals - Goro made a unique art of lending pictorial form to abstract theory and esoteric physics; enabling the layperson insights more commonly denied.

He not only covered the Manhattan Project, literally endangering his long term well-being by shooting directly at Ground Zero, but "His image of a fetus in an artificial womb inspired Kubrick's 2001."

"view of fetus in an artificial womb", june, 1965.

"view of different intra-uterine devices", june, 1965.

As Piel observed in hindsight, ''it was his artistry and ingenuity that made photographs of abstractions, of the big ideas from the genetic code to plate tectonics.''

all images originally appearing in "life" magazine.

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