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George S. Zimbel Obituary

© Michel Mercé

George S. Zimbel Obituary January 9, 2023


Photographer George S. Zimbel (b.1929 Woburn, Massachusetts, USA) died today in Montreal of natural causes. He was 93.  Zimbel was one of the few surviving elders of photography faithful to the legacy of New York’s Photo League who in the 1950’s imbued their pictures with a personal commitment towards the people and the social landscape they documented.  Zimbel’s work is collected by private collectors and major museums throughout the world including Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography in New York, the National Gallery of Canada, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art and the Brooklyn Museum.  He has published four books of photography and was the subject of an award-winning feature documentary about his work in 2016 called “Zimbelism” that toured the film festival circuit internationally.

In addition to photographing street and community life wherever he lived, Zimbel has photographed the famous including Marilyn Monroe, presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Truman, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, The Queen Mother, The Queen and Rene Levesque.

George Zimbel was a regular contributor to major magazines and newspapers including Life, Look, The New York Times and The New Yorker.

He is survived by his four children, Matt, Andrew, Ike and Jodi and nine grandchildren. His wife and partner of more than 61 years, writer and therapist Elaine A. Sernovitz-Zimbel died in 2016.