February 29, 1920 – June 25, 2015
Hal Gould was born in 1920 in Wyoming and grew up in New Mexico on his father’s ranch. He attended Baylor University to study dentistry, but was drafted into the Army during World War II. He had an interest in photography and after his discharge, in 1946, he took courses at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Eventually ending up in Denver, Gould opened a commercial studio, The House of Photography, in the Cherry Creek neighborhood in 1955, and the logo above is from his commercial work. He also pursued selling his artistic photography, but never found much profit from his original images.
In 1963 Gould and more than a dozen other photography enthusiasts formed the Colorado Photographic Arts Center (CPAC) and the Upper Level Gallery. Then in 1980, Gould who had been presenting shows in the Upper Level Gallery since the start, pulled out of CPAC, at the time an unfriendly split. It was then that he also closed his commercial studio and opened the famous Camera Obscura Gallery which he ran until 2011.
Camera Obscura was noted for feeling like a museum rather than a commercial gallery. Gould was often praised for having a wealth of knowledge about fine art photography and curating shows around photography he liked, rather than what might sell for the highest price. He was known for treating every visitor to Camera Obscura as his personal guest, inspiring others to share his enthusiasm for his exhibits. He was a much loved member of the Denver arts community and well respected for his knowledge and passion for sharing the photographic arts.
*Taken from https://history.denverlibrary.org/news/remembering-hal-gould-famed-owner-camera-obscura-gallery