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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Photo credit: Nick Shockey /
A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

Tower Records founder takes portraits of Sacramentans for City College galleries

Visitors pass through the newly opened “Community” photo exhibits by Russ Solomon on Sept. 14, 2015. The exhibit will run through Oct. 9 in the Kondos Gallery and Oct. 30 on the second floor of the Student Services Building. Jessie Rooker | Photo Editor | [email protected]

For most photographers, it takes a lot of work to get hundreds of people to come to a studio and be photographed. But for Sacramento legend Russ Solomon, all it took was a few phone calls to some close friends to set up what became the “Legends of Sacramento” and “Community” photo shows currently on display at City College.

Solomon, founder of the Tower Records empire, said he was inspired to consider doing a show after Kondos Gallery curators Michael Stevens and Susan Aden brought him to see City College’s new photography department studios last summer.

Solomon’s fascination with photography began when he received his first camera at age 16. He attended Sacramento Junior College in 1943 and served as the photographer for the student newspaper, then called The Pony Express.

“There was no really good reason for [the show], and it wasn’t that anybody had thought about it, or that they would call on me or anyone else,” said Solomon, who turns 90 this month. “It was just one of those ideas in conversation that popped up.”

Together, the group came up with the parameters of how the exhibit would be created, and Solomon, along with several City College photography professors as his assistants, snapped thousands of pictures over the summer.

The “Legends of Sacramento” show displayed on the walls of the photo gallery on the second floor of the new Student Services building was the first show to be worked on.

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The project took six sessions from late June to late August to complete. During those sessions, Solomon took portraits of Mayor Kevin Johnson, Chef and restaurateur Biba Caggiano, Sacramento artists Gregory Kondos and Wayne Thiebaud, City College President Kathryn Jeffery and hundreds of others.

In addition to being a part of an exhibit showcasing the artwork of one of City College’s famous former students, many of the people photographed have donated to a scholarship fund, according to Director of City College Foundation Office Mary Leland.

Leland, who was one of several models for Solomon, said the scholarship fund for photojournalism students currently sits at $15,000, with the ultimate goal of raising $50,000.

“You may see all of these adults here, and all of these legends on the wall, but this is about students and for our students,” said Leland. “So we’re excited that people came together and wanted to support Russ and wanted to support the college.”

The “Community” and “Legends of Sacramento” exhibits will be on display through the rest of September, and close on Oct. 9 and Oct. 30, respectively.

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