Biography: photographer Charles Gatewood

Biography: photographer Charles Gatewood


Charles Robert Gatewood (1942 – April 29, 2016) was a photographer who lived and worked in San Francisco, California. He began photographing in 1964, after finishing a degree in anthropology and art history at the University of Missouri. His goal from the first was to become a world-class photojournalist. His heroes were Henri Cartier Bresson, Robert Frank, Gene Smith, and the Magnum photographers.

his first published work was his photo of Bob Dylan in sunglasses with a cigarette, taken in Stockholm in 1966. The photo was syndicated, and he made money–which gave me faith that he could be a professional photographer.

He moved to New York City in August, 1966, and worked for a year as a studio assistant. In 1967 he left that job and started working as a free-lance photographer. It was easier than he thought to get started. Soon he was working for the New York Times, Harper’s magazine, the Saturday Review, Time, and other magazines.

From 1972-76 he photographed Manhattan’s financial district for his book Wall Street. This extended photographic essay won two fellowships from the NY State Arts Council, and he was awarded the Leica Medal of Excellence for the Wall Street work.

Gatewood died in San Francisco on April 29, 2016, after sustaining serious injuries in a fall from his balcony three weeks earlier, in an apparent suicide attempt. He left several notes behind. He was 73.

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