Jerome Liebling - Northampton, Mass.
Jerome Liebling, 87, internationally renowned photographer, filmmaker and teacher, and father of State Representative Tina Liebling, died of cancer July 27, 2011, in Northampton, Mass.
He inspired generations of students with his humanitarian vision expressed through the media of photography and film. He received many honors and awards, including two Guggenheim Fellowships, and his work is in the permanent collections of many prominent museums, including the Museum of Modern of Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the J. Paul Getty Museum in LA, and the Minnesota Historical Society. In recent years Liebling has had exhibitions of his work at The Yale University Art Gallery, The Smith College Museum of Art and The Currier Museum of Art. He published numerous books of his work, including The Face of Minneapolis, The Minnesota Photographs, The Dickinsons of Amherst, The People, Yes, and Jerome Liebling Photographs.
Liebling was born in New York City on April 16, 1924, the youngest son of Morris and Sarah (Goodman) Liebling. He was raised in Brooklyn. Liebling enlisted in the U.S. Army during WWII, served in the 82nd Airborne Division and saw combat in Europe and North Africa. As a result of his military experiences, Liebling became staunchly anti-war. After WWII, under the GI Bill, Liebling studied photography with Walter Rosenblum at Brooklyn College and film-making at the New School for Social Research. In the late 1940s he was a member of the Photo League in New York City where he worked with some of the most noted documentary photographers of the era. The photo league was a cooperative of photographers with common artistic and social sensibilities. Throughout his life Liebling had a deep concern for social justice and human rights.
In 1949, Liebling established the film and photography program at the University of Minnesota. The same year, he married Phyllis Levine of Brooklyn, N.Y. They later divorced. In Minnesota he collaborated on several award-winning documentary films with colleague Allen Downs. In 1969, at the newly established Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., Liebling founded the film and photography program. He taught there for 20 years, inspiring a new generation of photographers and filmmakers.
Other survivors are his wife, Rebecca Nordstrom; his children, Madeline, Adam, Daniella, and Rachel Jane; sons-in-law, Mark Liebow and James Lane; and five grandchildren. His parents and his brothers, David and Stanley, predeceased him.
He was buried in Amherst, Mass., where a memorial celebration will be held in the fall. Further information may be found at www.JeromeLiebling.com .