Darryl Curran Remembers Robert Heinecken

October 29, 2014
– By Darryl Curran

On the occasion of Robert Heinecken's birthday, Darryl Curran remembers the artist. Curran, a former student and long-time friend of Robert Heinecken, received his MA from UCLA in 1964. Since then, his work has been included in exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Norton Simon Museum, the Hammer Museum, the Center for Creative Photography, and the Museum of Modern Art. In conjunction with the exhibition Robert Heinecken: Object Matter, Curran offers an intimate reflection on Heinecken’s life and work. Curran’s photodiary, culled from his own collection of photos and mementos, offers a rare glimpse into Heinecken’s personality outside the classroom. Featuring snapshots from important conferences and private events, from the annual meetings of the Society for Photographic Education to Heinecken’s own memorial service, the images below demonstrate Heinecken’s centrality to the Southern California photographic community he helped create.

Jerry Uelsmann prepares to make a portrait of Robert Heinecken

In 1973, Fine Art photography found a small but appreciative audience. College creative photo programs flourished and summer workshops attracted students, professionals, and museum curators. Photo Superstars emerged; here Jerry Uelsmann prepares to make a portrait of Robert Heinecken at the Friends of Photography Summer Workshop, Carmel Valley.

The Memorial celebrating Robert Heinecken’s life at the Skirball Center, Los Angeles
Front: Gary Metz, Robert Heinecken, front; Back: Darryl and Doris Curran
Role Reversal: Sant Khalsa as Robert Heinecken; Robert Heinecken as Sant Khalsa

Heinecken was charismatic, persuasive and a bit of a “trickster” as evidenced in this photo made at a Society for Photographic Education (SPE) conference in 1984 in Lake Tahoe.

Heinecken accepting his “Honored Educator” award alongside his “doppleganger”
Croucho makes a surprise appearance, momentarily catching Heinecken off guard
Heinecken as Master of Ceremonies
Birthday Party!
Sixtieth Birthday.
Heinecken, serious and professional, preparing to meet the press and the public
Heinecken’s daughters, Kathe and Karol flanking their mother, Janet, son Geoff and friend Deke Morrison

The three photos above are from the 2006 reception following the Robert Heinecken memorial. Friends, family, colleagues, associates, curators, artists, collectors, educators and others, attended the gathering honoring the life, spirit and legacy of Robert F. Heinecken, Photographist, at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles.