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Art of Medicine


Black and white photograph
By Jon Gilbert Fox

Photographer Jon Gilbert Fox first pushed the shutter button of a camera when he was eight years old. He was with his family on vacation in New England—his first trip to the region—when his mother loaned him her camera, "a little bellows folding Kodak." Fox recalls aiming it at the Old Man of the Mountain rock formation in New Hampshire and at scenic barns in Vermont. It was a seminal event in his life, for he's been aiming a camera at people (not just ones made of granite) and scenery ever since and has lived in one or the other of those two states since 1978. His work appears regularly in Dartmouth Medicine and has graced 11 of our covers. He has also done assignments for a number of other Dartmouth publications, including a brochure for the DHMCBirthing Pavilion after the Medical Center's Lebanon campus opened in 1991. The image above was one he shot for that project, using a Nikon 35mm and a very slow film to ensure fine-grained prints. It was an enjoyable assignment, he recalls. The "parents were very cooperative, the nurses were great . . . it was a fun shoot." He's also had several books of his work published, including, by University Press of New England, New Hampshire Patterns and Intimate Vermont. Fox's talents are in demand well beyond the region, too. His work has appeared in such places as Vogue, House & Garden, and the New York Times. And he's photographed many famous people, including Elizabeth Taylor, Glenn Close, Gore Vidal, and Queen Elizabeth. "The photography I like best is with people," he says, but not necessarily famous people. One of his most memorable assignments was when he was in college, at William and Mary. "Colonial Williamsburg is so pristine," he says, but "behind the scenes [is] a lot of poverty." Invited to photograph "the other side of Williamsburg," he was amazed to find "13 people, three generations, living in a house [with] a gaping hole in the roof . . . and no real running water except for a stream outside." He put together a slide show that was credited as being instrumental in the passage of a Virginia open housing law. A picture, whether of an infant's innocent gaze or of a wrong that cries out for righting, can indeed be worth a thousand words.

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