Images from the Robert J. McLeod Photography Collection
Robert J. (Bob) McLeod (1946?-2006) was a San Francisco Bay native, growing up in Daly City. When McLeod was 12 years old, his father passed away, his older brother George then gave him his first camera, a Brownie Hawkeye. McLeod then began taking photos around his neighborhood, he would then process the photographs
in the small darkroom that he had made himself in the family's basement closet. After attending San Francisco State University for a limited time, McLeod began to work at the San Francisco Examiner in 1967, first as a copy boy, working his way up to director of photography in 1989. He worked with both the San Francisco Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle as a photographer and photo editor. Throughout his career, McLeod photographed significant events and figures of San Francisco history such as Harvey Milk, Patty Hearst, and the aftermath of the Loma Prieta earthquake.
McLeod was married to photographer, reporter, and San Francisco Examiner copy editor, Beth Witrogen for 25 years. Together they completed a series of images entitled The Caregivers, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1995. The series also won second place in the Peninsula Press Awards, and other awards and accolades.
McLeod's passion laid with photographing dancers in the Bay Area, from novices to professionals, including but not limited to Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, and Gelsey Kirkland. McLeod also chronicled the rise of San Francisco Ballet principal Joanna Berman from her time at Marin Ballet School to the early years of her career at San Francisco Ballet. He photographed several other Bay Area companies such as Oakland Ballet, San Francisco Moving Company, and SF Dance Spectrum. His photographs offer a unique view of dancers in rehearsal and during performances. McLeod was diagnosed with lung cancer, though he was never a smoker. He retired a few months before his death on January 3, 2006 at his home in Antioch, California at the age of 59.