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National Award-Winning News Cameraman and Sanibel Resident Charles Ray Photography Exhibit in FGCU Library Gallery
FORT MYERS, FL - Award-winning NBC news cameraman, resident of Sanibel Island and walking history book, Charles Ray, will be honored on Thursday, Oct. 31 during an opening reception for a photography exhibit of his work in the Florida Gulf Coast University Library Gallery. Ray will answer questions and talk informally about his work at 5 p.m.
Earlier this year, Ray donated his photo archives to FGCU. The collection, formally known as the Charles Ray Photo Archives, includes photographs, negatives, journals, audiotapes, videotapes, photography books and periodicals, a newsreel camera, a sound newsreel projector, 16mm film and other associated keepsakes.
“In his travels with NBC News, Charles Ray has been everywhere, seen everything and met everyone of national and international renown,” director of Advancement, Linda Lehtomaa, said when the archives were donated. “We are thrilled that his photographs and other memorabilia resulting from his 25 years as a photojournalist with NBC News will now reside at FGCU.”
Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Carolyn Gray said, “Thi exhibit, curated by Morgan Paine, Art program leader, provides only a glimpse into the richness of the archival collection. Professor Paine has included works that relate to important historical events, the photographer, manipulated images, memorabilia and the Southwest Florida natural environment.”
Ray’s career began in 1953 in Cadillac, Mich., at WWTV. He later moved to KWWL in Iowa and returned to Michigan at WNEM. He settled in Chicago in 1961, working first for WGN and then switching to NBC News Chicago in 1965.
Ray was an eyewitness to many historical events in the latter part of the 20th century. He covered every presidential campaign from 1960 to 1987 and social-changing measures, such as the Martin Luther King Jr. march in Selma, Ala.
Some of Ray’s filming is legendary, including footage of the bloody clash between police and anti-Vietnam War demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, and a bombing during the rebel insurrection in Nicaragua that was so close that when it aired - unedited - it included a 30-second blackout.
Ray also filmed Anwar Sadat’s historic visit in 1977 with Menachem Begin in Jerusalem and the 1978 Jonestown massacre in Guyana. He has had several stories appear on the Today Show and he personally suffered through a horrific police beating in Cleveland during unrest.
Still, he never stopped believing in his work. “Take away the camera and you wouldn’t have television news,” Ray said.
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the National Press Photographers Association both honored Ray. He has awards from the Illinois Press Photographers Association and the Chicago Press Photographers Association, including three-time Cameraman of the Year.
Ray also completed a book about his career, The Life of a Network Newsreel Cameraman, from the diary he kept for 30 years. He has conducted numerous workshops and lectures.
For more information, contact Gray at (941) 590-7155.