I tell stories with my camera. I’ve photographed some of the biggest historical events of the last fifty years and some of the smallest. The committee that awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for Feature Photography to me in 1972 said my images told stories about “the loneliness and desolation of war.” Later, as President Gerald R. Ford’s personal photographer, my mission was to chronicle his administration, and to document officials as they made the big decisions that affected our lives.
During more than fifty years of being on the front lines of history, I have covered a multitude of news events, a dozen presidential elections, and half a dozen wars. I’ve traveled to more than 100 countries in my relentless search of photographs that reveal, provide insight, and, yes, tell the story. In that pursuit, most of the images that I’m known for are those that have been printed, circulated, collected and displayed. They all have one thing in common. They were published. Editors scoured the images I brought back from assignments to find the next big magazine cover or double-truck display.
I’m proud that my career has been defined by big historic moments and thousands of published images. However, when I wasn’t hunting that big shot, and sometimes when I was, I also looked behind the story for quieter narratives. I’ve found grandeur, beauty, and sometimes pain in familiar places. I’m drawn to scenes of humor and little-noticed signs of our changing country. I wait for just the right shadow to reveal the character of a place. I’ve been making these other kinds of pictures for as long as I’ve been able to use a camera. In the year 2000, I published Photo du Jour, a book that celebrated the juxtaposition of the everyday with the extraordinary.
In 2019 The University of Arizona Center for Creative Photography (CCP) acquired my archive. It was a real honor for my photographs to join those of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Richard Avedon, and many other master photographers. As I worked to prepare the hundreds of thousands of negatives, prints, objects, memorabilia, correspondence and documents dating back to 1957 for the move to the CCP, I was able to see my collection in a different light. I noticed the multitude of images it contained that were passed over by editors for not containing the explosive impact they were looking for to sell magazines. During that process I discovered quieter images that told deeper stories.
Over the decades, my photographs have been exhibited in many galleries and museums. They have also been acquired by persistent collectors who have been able to track me down on the road while on assignment. However, I have never had the time or ability to focus on fine prints – until now. Recently, I have been working with my archivist, Randa Cardwell, and photo consultant, Sherrie Berger, to seek out a never-before-seen collection of these images. Together we have created a small edit of about 150 undiscovered gems, many from early work that had been hiding for decades. This is an eclectic selection, with the only criteria being images that made us stop, look again, and then dive deeper into the content. It includes some New York City street scenes from the 60s, and work from around the country and world. The work has a touch of nature, humor, seriousness, and of course, stories!
We created this collection as an introduction to my undiscovered work as well as a taste of some of my best-known photographs. This edit will be available by invitation only to gallerists, exhibitors, and curators for the next few months. I am eager to hear ideas and impressions about this work, and we hope that it can become a catalyst for interaction and partnerships. I would genuinely welcome further curation of my vast pool of undiscovered images, because you never know what else is hiding in those folders!