One of Denver’s most prominent photojournalists of the 1980’s and 1990’s is displayed in a new exhibit of local artists at History Colorado.. Robert Weinberg is best known for his work at the Intermountain Jewish News and has donated a collection of portraits and photographs to the museum.
Curator and Public Engagement Manager Jeremy Morton, a Denver native, says working with Weinberg was a rewarding experience because he “grew up with him” and his photographs in the late 80s and early 90s.
“Robert’s work consists of his experiences and others’ experiences in Denver,” Morton says, “It means a lot because he’s so nice.”
Robert Weinberg’s love for photography sparked when he was a senior in high school taking a photography elective. He used a pinhole camera and printed on paper to take his first photo in early 1965. After graduating from high school, he joined the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), an organization similar to the modern day Peace Corps, and Weinberg thought to himself “Why the hell don’t I have a camera?”
At 19 years old Weinberg bought his first camera and began photographing everybody.
“Once I picked up that camera and started working with it, it was really rewarding and fun,” Weinberg says. “At one point I had three day jobs in photography,” he added. “That’s when my life really started in photography.”
Weinberg began shooting weddings and professional portraits before moving into photojournalism. He documented a diverse collection of people in the Mile High City. His work documented people like Leonder Taylor, a homeless man, and dancer Cleo Parker Robinson. Weinberg also had a chance to photograph President Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II.
Weinberg began to lose his vision in the mid 1990s and by 1998 he was legally blind. He continued to take photos after he began to lose his sight. Countless of his images are told through the story of light and dark, or the parts of the images that Weinberg could still see.
“I went to an optometrist and I said ‘what’s going on? I can’t see some things’ and he did all this testing and he told me ‘you’re legally blind’” Weinberg says.
Weinberg struggled with depression when he first lost his sight. He turned to The Colorado Center for the Blind, and support groups to find new meaning in his life. Now Weinberg spends his time listening to audiobooks and helping other people who are losing their vision find tools to remain independent.
The last six or seven years is when Weinberg started to consider preserving his legacy and passion for photography. The importance to him is sharing the art he can no longer enjoy for a wider audience. Each photograph has an accompanying description of the photo in Braille to make the gallery more accessible to the visually impaired. Weinberg’s images will be on display on the mezzanine until January 2024.