The Vernon Oral History Project

The Vernon Oral History Project
18 records
Marjorie and Leonard Vernon were pioneer Los Angeles collectors who, beginning in the 1970s, amassed a group of images that covered in breadth and depth, a global history of photography. In conjunction with the exhibitionSee the Light–Photography, Perception, Cognition: The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection, LACMA’s Wallis Annenberg Photography Department organized the Vernon Oral History Project. To read the personal stories behind this important collection from the artists, curators, collectors and gallery owners who knew the Vernons well, select from these highlights of the collection. Each entry includes passages from the oral history interviews, in the section titled "History."

"The collection changed my parents’ lives. They developed a whole social life around this. They traveled. My father hated to travel. But, if it was to go to auction, if it was to go for a specific thing, he would travel. So they made friends all over the world related to photography. They went to the auctions in London. They went to the auctions wherever. That was their life. They made great friends and they were totally involved in the world, but through photography. It made a great life for them."

- Carol Vernon, daughter of Leonard and Majorie Vernon (Los Angeles)

"It’s pretty remarkable how much impact that collection had on their lives. The network of people they knew, the photographers especially, but gallery owners, and other collectors. It was a phenomenal experience. For me, it was exposure to this wonderful world of fine art photography, experienced at a level that very, very few people get a chance to participate in. They had a good-sized gallery with images on view and that usually started the conversation. It was unlike a museum; everybody that came over would get to pass the images around."

- Bob Turbin, son-in-law of Leonard and Marjorie Vernon (Los Angeles)