Robert Cumins was working on the staff of his junior high school paper in Fair Lawn, N.J., when he had his first scoop.
He sent a note to Pierre Salinger, then press secretary to President Kennedy, asking for an interview. Salinger invited Cumins to the White House, where the 14-year-old attended presidential press conferences and welcoming ceremonies with visiting dignitaries.
Cumins' stories not only ran in his school paper, but the tale of the chutzpadik teen who wangled his way into the White House was also picked up by his hometown newspaper and The Associated Press. It was Cumins' launch into the national -- and, eventually, international -- scene.
He became a professional photojournalist whose work has been featured on the covers of Time and Newsweek and in magazines and newspapers around the globe. Starting with the Camp David Accords, Cumins has photographed every major peace summit and signing involving Israel, including the famous four-second handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat in 1993.
Beginning with a trip to Israel in 1973, Cumins has visited the Jewish state more than 100 times.
Ten of Cumins' pictures, along with the work by five other well-known photographers (such as Journal photographers Shlomit Levy, Bill Aron and Jill Lichtenstein) and 47 local photographers, are included in "Images of Israel: A Photographic Perspective of Israel at 50 Years," an exhibition that opens this weekend at Christie's Los Angeles. All photos are for sale, with 25 percent of the proceeds going to benefit the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles' United Jewish Fund. The Federation is sponsoring the show.
"Images of Israel" will be on view from Dec. 13 to 17. Gallery hours are from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Christie's is located at 360 N. Camden Drive in Beverly Hills. For information, or to arrange tours, call the Federation at (323) 761-8122.