Photographer Richard Fish’s widow donates work for Oviatt Library exhibition

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The Addams Family set, photographed by Richard Fish

The Oviatt Library is extending its exhibit of the work of Richard Fish, a prolific, California-based photographer.

Fish (1919-2005) is known for photographs that covered a variety of subjects for publications like the Los Angeles Times Home magazine, Sunset magazine, Better Home and Gardens and Chicago Daily Sunset magazine.

“Richard had such an interesting career photographing gardens and movie stars,” said Marie Fish, his widow.  She donated Fish’s work to the Oviatt Library’s permanent collection.

The library is displaying Fish’s work in the lobby.  Images of swimming pools, gardens and colorfully decorated homes hang overhead.

The exhibit, though small, showcases the diversity of Fish’s work.  Seven glass cases display landscapes, celebrity portraits, homes, swimming pools and architecture.

“I remember how he would put his thumb and middle index finger up to his eye, as if he was composing through a lens,” Marie said.

Fish studied at the University of Southern California in 1940 and earned a degree in cinematography and journalism. He went on to work at Lockheed before going to Germany in World War II. Upon returning to the United States in 1947, Fish continued his education at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco where he was taught by Ansel Adams and Minor White.

During World War II, Fish met Boris Kremenliev, a music professor at UCLA. Kremenliev invited Fish to photograph the composer Arnold Schoenberg and his family.

The Oviatt Library displays images from this project.  Images of Shoenberg, his children and a copy of the German music magazine where the images were originally published can be seen behind a glass case. The photos revealed the relationship the composer had with his family.

One of the most popular displays in the exhibit is of the Addams Family set.

“I have seen quite a few students looking up at all the photographs and especially at the Addams Family photo’s, everybody remembers that show,” said Marianne Afifi, associate dean at the Oviatt Library.

The images from the Addams Family show can be seen while taking the escalator from the second floor to the first floor.  It has images of the different sets and characters from the black-and-white TV show.  This assignment for TV Guide magazine allowed the public to see the show in color for the first time.

The Richard Fish exhibit was scheduled to run from Nov. 1, 2010 through this Saturday.  Afifi said the runtime of the exhibit was extended by a week due to its popularity.

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  • Jon

    A wonderful treasure trove rare color photos of the Addams Family TV series sets. These photos are priceless – Jon A Davis, Webmaster AddamsFamily.Com