Photography of Gjon Mili exhibited in Balboa Park.

Motion Pictures, Photography by Gjon Mili, is a free to the public exhibition inside the San Diego Museum of Art's Gallery 15.
Motion Pictures, Photography by Gjon Mili, is a free to the public exhibition inside the San Diego Museum of Art’s Gallery 15.

There is currently a free exhibition of Gjon Mili photography at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Gjon Mili was a photographer for Life magazine during the Golden Age of Photojournalism.

Born in Albania, Gjon Mili came to America to study electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he experimented with photography. As a photographer for Life, he captured a wide variety of action with his camera, including motion in sports and dance.

He was a pioneer in the use of stroboscopic light, stop-motion techniques, and other novel methods of photography. One famous innovation is his iconic light drawings. He also focused on jazz performance, and the work of contemporary artists, such as Picasso. In 1944 he filmed his first true motion picture, Jammin’ the Blues, after his passion for jazz was ignited by hosting a party that included Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Dizzy Gillespie.

This very cool (and free) exhibition can be found in Gallery 15, through a door beside Panama 66 at the San Diego Museum of Art’s outdoor May S. Marcy Sculpture Court.

Here are a few photos to provide a hint of what you’ll see…

Long Island University basketball team demonstrates best scoring plays. Gelatin silver print, 1940.
Long Island University basketball team demonstrates best scoring plays. Gelatin silver print, 1940.
Gjon Mili (1904-1984), an immigrant from Albania, was a photographer for Life magazine. He could capture on one negative more grace and beauty than Hollywood cameramen could get on many feet of motion-picture film.
Gjon Mili (1904-1984), an immigrant from Albania, was a photographer for Life magazine. He could capture on one negative more grace and beauty than Hollywood cameramen could get on many feet of motion-picture film.
Woman playing badminton. Gelatin silver print, 1945.
Woman playing badminton. Gelatin silver print, 1945.
Starting line for the sixty-yard hurdles of the Millrose Games. Gelatin silver print, 1948.
Starting line for the sixty-yard hurdles of the Millrose Games. Gelatin silver print, 1948.
Gjon Mili on the set of Jammin' the Blues. Photographic reproduction, 1944.
Gjon Mili on the set of Jammin’ the Blues. Photographic reproduction, 1944.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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