With subjects ranging from children to farmers to celebrities, George Zimbel established himself as one of the original 20th-century street photographers. Now in his 80s, George spends a lot of time thinking and talking about the alarming shift to what he labels the age of "digital diarrhea." His is an art that relies on rich black-and-white 35mm film stock, and the documentary shares an abundance of his splendid images. While the film lets us hear in Zimbel's own words about his career, it skilfully punctuates the narrative with an exchange of letters between Zimbel and the New York Times debating the rightful copyright of one of his JFK photos. Zimbelism is as much an admiring portrait of a man and his art as it is an elegy to the days of sympathetic documentary photography, long before the debates about privacy laws, copyright and digital reproduction complicated the matter. Aisha Jamal
Enjoy a collection of iconic photographs by George Zimbel at Hot Docs House from March 22 to May 8. Organized by Stephen Bulger Gallery.
Co-presented by Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.