Review: Natural History Museum Stages Robinson's Photography Exhibit

By Shaw, Kurt | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 17, 2008 | Go to article overview

Review: Natural History Museum Stages Robinson's Photography Exhibit


Shaw, Kurt, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Tucked away in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's third- floor R.P. Simmons Family Gallery is an exhibition of magnificent proportion.

"In Harmony with Nature II" features nearly 200 photographs spanning more than four-and-a-half decades of the photographic career of Pittsburgh photographer Donald Robinson.

A successful businessman who developed the White Cross drugstore chain of 100 stores that became part of Revco in 1973, as well as Gateway Travel, Robinson has been pursuing photography in tandem with his business interests for 50 years. But in the past 20 years, he has dedicated himself to it nearly full-time. It's a passion, he says, that began more than half a century ago.

Robinson considered photography as a profession for the first time while on a trip to Mexico in 1950.

"I was serious about it even then," he says. That adventure was the catalyst for a six-decade global odyssey during which he recorded his journey on film.

Thus, this exhibition is a retrospective of sorts. Laid out in sections that reflect Robinson's travels around the world, it includes images captured on visits to Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, South America and the Arctic and Antarctic. They date as far back as 1961, when he traveled with his wife, Sylvia, to Greece and Israel. Since then, they have traveled six continents and more than 60 countries. The most recent images are from last year, when the couple visited Norway and Copenhagen.

Like his globetrotting self, his photographs have traveled around the world, winning 25 gold medals for "best of show" in International Photography Salons. He was awarded the title of EFIAP (artist of excellence) by the Federation Internationale de l'Art Photographique, and he received the Photograph Society of America's Galaxy Award.

This is Robinson's sixth exhibition at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, as well as his 51st museum exhibit since 1988. But it is by far the most comprehensive display he has ever mounted, featuring a diversity of culture, wildlife, flora and landscape that is unparalleled among his contemporaries. …

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