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Hart, Bob

  See my work
Chicago native and commercial photographer Bob Hart presents his first fine art exhibition, PhotoGenetics, a personal photographic family documentation spanning over 60 years.

For more information about viewing hours and the opening reception: 912-695-4287.

Bob Hart was a commercial photographer for over 50 years with the professional requisite of photographing something to show its beauty. Whether that something was a person, beer can or an industrial factory, the desire to portray an ideal also informed the act of recording his personal life. Bob has expressed that the photography he did outside of his commercial field, his personal photos, are his most cherished and important work. After 50 years, this realization led to his decision to show this work to the public.

PhotoGenetics is a study of family and biological connection. Bob Hart has unknowingly worked within a photographic tradition that has been made famous by other photographers such as Harry Callahan, Emmet Gowin, and Nicholas Nixson. Hartâ€"s view of family is unique and yet it speaks to the dreams for family life held by many. In turn we bring our own experiences and emotions to this work.

Curator, Ginny Garramone, has developed the show over the past year. She also worked as the archivist, printer, essayist, and graphic designer for the exhibition. This is the culmination of over a year working with Bob Hart, but has been a lifelong project for the photographer himself.


I started taking pictures when I was 8 years old in 1939. My older brother worked as a studio photographer in Chicago at Kling Studios. He would invite me to come along with him on shoots, letting me carry his bag full of flash bulbs and the dark slides. I was exposed to all aspects of the commercial photography, and celebrity portraiture business. At the age of 9 I had already met and helped my brother photograph Nat King Cole, Jane Russel and Howard Hughes. Unfortunately, due to a long-term illness my brother died when I was thirteen. Over the years my interest in photography took a back seat to other things, but I never forgot the wonderful experience of spending time with my brother at the studio.

Photography found itâ€"s way back into my life, unexpectedly, years later at the age of 24, while in the army. I was at an all night poker game and I won a really great hand. The guy who lost didnâ€"t have enough money to pay me; so, I won his camera instead. After I won that camera, I never went anywhere without it and I started shooting all the time.

As soon as I was out of the army the same studio my brother had worked for, Kling Studios immediately hired me. Nearly 20 years had passed. I was working for the same people I had worked with and had met as a young boy. As an adult, I photographed many of the same people I had helped photograph with my brother. Nat King Cole actually remembered me taking his photo when I was 8 when I photographed him again in my thirties.

I had an amazing career shooting food, products, beer, industrial equipment, cars, ice cream, and people as a commercial photographer; I retired from that business at the age of 74, two years ago in 2005.

After working commercially for 50 years Iâ€"m really happy to finally be sharing my personal work with the public. The photography Iâ€"ve done with my family is what I consider to be my finest work, the culmination of which is the show PhotoGenetics.

The show PhotoGenetics was inspired by my experience with photography as a child. My relatives; and, of course my brother, were constantly taking photographs of the family. I cherished these photographic records of my childhood and life, and I continued this tradition as an adult with my own family. I look back at these images and I see a record of all our private moments and records of our celebrations. These images maintain these moments beyond that time. Having this record helps me remember who we were, where we came from, and who we are now: PhotoGenetics.

Click thumbnails to enlarge.

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