Tony Gleaton, 1948-2015

Tony Gleaton , a photographer best known for his images of the American West, Southwest and Mexico, died August 14 at age 67 in Palo Alto, California. Gleaton, who specialized in black-and-white photos of  African American cowboys and people of color in Latin America, was born in Detroit and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps after he graduated from high school in 1966. After  his service in the Marines, which included a tour of duty in the Vietnam War, Gleaton studied photography at UCLA; the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif.; and at UC Berkeley.

Gleaton spent three years as a fashion photographer in New York before heading west, where he found his life’s work. An exhibition of his work in Mexico sponsored by the Smithsonian Instuitution called “Africa’s Legacy in Mexico ”  was shown in galleries around the country  the 1990s.

“One of the interesting things about Tony was that he could do more with less, ” Bruce Talamon, the executor of the Tony Gleaton Photographic Trust, told The New York Times . “By that I mean as we live in a time of celebrity photographers with big budgets, and untold numbers of assistants and stylists, Tony would have a small bag with one medium-format camera, one lens, $5 in his pocket, and a few rolls of Tri-X film. He always shot in available light. He could find beautiful light everywhere he went.”


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