I Give Up: How Did You Do That?
by Gary Gladstone ‘54
Someone asked me "How did SHS influence your path to success?" I was stumped because SHS barely tolerated my disruptive presence and finally, weeks before graduation, I was “…invited to leave before graduating.” That was a kind euphemism for being tossed out of school without any reason recorded in my record. A young assistant Dean, R. Bruce McGill, whose office served as my detention hall almost every school day, saw me as a troubled kid rather than just a delinquency problem . He helped soften the expulsion, offering a deal where I could make up a credit in the summer for a diploma. Then he offered the name of the doctor who helped me find myself.
Gary at Peculiar, MO one of the 114 towns
he visited for his two latest books.
Mr. McGill said something to me that still makes me laugh. Although I suffered a horrendous reputation, he and I had developed a nice chatting relationship.
One day, while he was talking with me in the hall during the boisterous between-class stampede, I noticed my buddies Mike and Dave tip-toeing out of the boy’s room in exaggerated cartoon fashion, only ten feet behind McGill’s back. Suddenly, there was a booming cannon-like explosion followed by a square cloud of smoke puffing out the swinging bathroom door. People screamed and stopped. Mr. McGill turned to look at the smoke and in the same motion turned his head back and looked pleadingly at me and said “I give up, Gary. How did you do that?”
Whenever I ponder the jail-bound path I was on in high school and the happy success I was able to put together, I usually ask myself that same question…
Gary Gladstone is one of a handful of photographers who first defined “corporate” as a specialty in the early 1970s. Re-focusing a successful career as a freelancer for such magazines as LIFE, LOOK, The Saturday Evening Post, and Seventeen, he began to shoot annual reports for Fortune 500 companies. He quickly recognized the potential market opening to photographers who could deliver the right look for designers with corporate accounts, and be sensitive to the needs of senior executives. Gary was instrumental in setting new standards for what had been a somewhat obscure sideline, transforming it into an important branch of commercial photography. His compelling, technically innovative images, along with his careful attention to the delicate art of keeping the corporate client happy, have resulted in an impressive list of clients. These include Pfizer Inc, Wang Laboratories, Grumman Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, Nabisco, Pratt & Whitney, Price Waterhouse, United Technologies, and General Electric plus many other large and small companies.
Gary brings a diverse and colorful background to his corporate work. Born in 1935, Gary studied painting, drawing, and advertising illustration at the Art Students League in New York City. He started out professionally as a photographer and columnist on a weekly newspaper in Westchester County, New York, and soon moved on to the New York Daily News, where he was a special feature photographer from 1958 to 1960.
While shooting for magazines in the 1960s, Gary began to produce audio-visual shows and industrial theater for corporate accounts. At the same time, he became involved in a project unrelated to photography: he conceived and co-wrote America’s first stereo comedy record album for Columbia Records (Epic label), an LP called Sounds Funny. Later on, he formed JazzTime, with jazz musician Dave Bailey, to produce and package jazz and comedy records for major labels.
Gary has published nine hard cover books. In April, 2003 he authored the widely reviewed “Passing Gas And Other Towns Along The American Highway.” (Ten Speed Press) The sequel "Reaching Climax And Other Towns Along The American Highway" followed in November, 2005, and is the subject of a PBS weekly series awaiting underwriting. Currently, Gary is writing his first non-photo book, a memoir, detailing his escape from a life as a juvenile delinquent. LIFE Magazine featured his book for children, Hey, Hey, Can’t Catch Me, as a color four-page book review (a first for the magazine). He is the author of Corporate & Location Photography, published by Silver Pixel Press for Kodak’s Pro Workshop Series. He has received recognition for his corporate photography in the form of national awards from the Advertising Club of New York, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and the New York Art Directors Club, among others.
An active participant in the New York photographic community, Gary has served as an officer on the New York chapter boards of both ASMP and APNY. He was one of the first members of Image Bank’s Photographers Advisory Board, and a founding member of an independent organization of Image Bank artists known as PHOTIB. This group’s objectives include working to help give photographers a voice in creating a more beneficial business relationship with their stock agencies.
In May, 2005, Gary was awarded the The International Photographic Council’s Leadership Award in a ceremony at the United Nations.