'Don Pinder: Eyes on the Island' Exhibit Opening

When: July 14, 2023 5:00 PM

Where: Key West Museum of Art & History Custom House, 281 Front St, Key West, FL 33040

On July 14, the Key West Art & Historical Society is set to debut its latest exhibition, "Don Pinder: Eyes on the Island," a first-of-its-kind showcase dedicated solely to the work of renowned Key West Citizen photographer, Don Pinder (1925-2003). The collection, including numerous pieces previously unpublished or displayed, comprises over 50 black-and-white and color photographs documenting Key West's history and culture throughout Pinder's extensive 35-year career. Noteworthy facts about Pinder include:

  • He was born and raised during the Great Depression in a Petronia Street house.
  • After the Pearl Harbor attack, he served in the U.S. Navy but had to return to Key West due to a dislocated shoulder.
  • Not long after, he joined the Marine Corps, where he trained as an aerial photographer and took gripping pictures over Okinawa and Borneo during World War II.
  • Post-war, he worked briefly for The Miami Herald before joining the Key West Citizen in 1953, where he held the position of staff photographer for 35 years.

Pinder's diverse portfolio captured a rich spectrum of Key West, from celebrities to impoverished vagabonds. Among the prominent figures he photographed were U.S. Presidents Harry S Truman and John F. Kennedy, British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan, and playwright Tennessee Williams. His work also covered business openings, military events, bi-annual Island Roots Festival, shrimping industry workers, movie premieres, and Bahama Village church choirs. "Don Pinder: Eyes on the Island" is expected to offer an intimate view of Key West's history. As Dr. Cori Convertito, the curator and historian for the Key West Museum of Art & History, notes, Pinder's photographs serve as pivotal records of an island with significant influence on South Florida's culture, offering a unique insider's perspective of its inhabitants—business owners, political activists, creatives, and ordinary families.