Rob O’Neal Speaker February 22

Rob O'neal
Rob O’neal

Friends of the Library Speaker Series
Features Rob O’Neal

As part of its ongoing 2016 speaker series, the Friends of the Key West library will be welcoming popular photographer Rob O’Neal to the podium at the Key West Theater, 512 Eaton St., Monday, Feb. 22 at 6:00 p.m. The lecture is open to the public, and admission is free. Doors open at 5:30. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis.

Rob O’Neal has been a photographer and sometimes columnist at the Key West Citizen since 1997. In that time he has taken pictures of everyone from Bill and Hillary Clinton to Oprah Winfrey to John Waters to Oliver North to Captain Tony and Wilhelmina Harvey. He has also photographed thousands of less famous residents and visitors, including drag queens, fishermen, fake pirates, real nurses, carnival barkers, cops, bar owners, hotel desk clerks, veterans, and pretty much any other segment of the population you can name.

O’Neal has immortalized an astonishing number of Key West weddings, including the island’s first same sex wedding, and has probably taken more pictures of Ernest Hemingway imitators than any other photographer alive.

“I spent my first thirty-five years in the Midwest having a great time with great people, but when I finally made it to Key West, I started living a life I still don’t think I deserve,” he said.

He published his first book, Key West Photo Safari, in 2006. A new book, Cuba Photo Safari is scheduled to be out later this year.

O’Neal made his first trip to Cuba in 1999, a week after he learned it was possible to visit. He has returned thirty-one times, most recently to cover Pope Francis’s historic visit.

“Aside from the architecture, land and seascapes, and crazy animals, the Cuban people make it a pleasure to return time and time again,” he said.

Presently, over forty of his photos are currently on display in “Islands in the (Gulf) Stream: A photography exhibit of Key West & Cuba,” at the Key West Art & Historical Society’s Custom House Museum. That show runs through April 19.

For more information about the Friends of the Key West Library lecture series, go to

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