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Scope|Politics, war and Picasso: David Douglas Duncan's life

2018-06-12 15:51:21  source: [Reprint]  author:   editor: 斫子 Su Yuezhuo

From US Marines in Korean trenches to Picasso in his studio and Nixon deep in thought, the photojournalist captured the tumult of the 1950s and 1960s

War photographer David Douglas Duncan dies aged 102


Korean war, 1950

The internationally renowned American photojournalist David Douglas Duncan has died at age 102 in France. All images are from Duncan’s archive at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin


Con Thien, 1967

After fighting in the second world war as a Marine, Duncan made soldiers a focus of his work while shooting for Life magazine, beginning with an assignment during the Korean war


Picasso on the front steps of Mas Notre-Dame-de-Vie in Mougins, 1959

He met Pablo Picasso in 1956, and they remained close until the artist’s death in 1973


Picasso’s face reflected for an instant, 1967

Duncan gained rare access, capturing Picasso at work in his studio and at home


Pablo Picasso, La Californie, 1957

‘Born in Kansas City, Missouri, and knowing nothing about Picasso,’ said Duncan, ‘I had the audacity to knock on his door, became his friend and took thousands of photographs, of him, his studios, his life and his friends’


Richard Nixon, Miami Beach, 1968

The presidential candidate responds to a question at his press conference at the Republican National Convention


Richard Nixon, Miami Beach, 1968

Alone in his hotel room, Nixon writes his acceptance speech as the Republican party’s nominee to fight the 1968 presidential election – which he went on to win and become the 37th president of the United States


Korean war, 1950

Of his work as a combat photographer, Duncan said: ‘I just felt maybe the guys out there deserved being photographed just the way they are, whether they are running scared, or showing courage, or diving into a hole, or talking and laughing. And I think I did bring a sense of dignity to the battlefield’


Korean war, 1950

‘My objective always is to stay as close as possible and shoot the pictures as if through the eyes of the infantryman, the Marine or the pilot,’ he said in 1951


Pfc John L Lewis, Khe Sanh, February 1968

He spoke of wanting to give his readers an idea of what the soldier’s experience was: ‘His apprehensions and sufferings, his tensions and releases, his behaviour in the presence of threatening death’


US Marines, Seoul, Korea, September 1950

Duncan’s work from Korea was published in the 1951 tome, This Is War!, to worldwide acclaim. To photographer Edward Steichen it was “the greatest book of war photographs ever published”

Photograph: David Douglas Duncan. Courtesy Harry Ransom Center

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