"I didn't feel a mission as a combat photographer. I just felt like the guys out there deserved to be photographed for who they are, whether they're scared or showing courage or jumping in a hole or talking and laughing. And I think I brought a sense of dignity to the battlefield." (loosely translated, David Douglas DUNCAN)
About US photographer David Douglas DUNCAN (1916-2018)
David Douglas DUNCAN was a U.S. photographer and war journalist known primarily for his dramatic, sometimes critical war photographs, as well as his photo essays on Pablo Picasso. He graduated from the University of Miami, where he studied zoology and Spanish, and where his interest in photojournalism awakened. His career as a press photographer began while he was still a student in 1934 with a photo reportage on a hotel fire in Tucson, Arizona, where he happened to photograph the wanted bank robber and 'public enemy No. 1', John Dillinger, among the fleeing hotel guests. As an officer in the United States Marine Corps, he served as a war photographer in the South Pacific. His war photographs were so impressive that he was hired by Life Magazine after the war and traveled for them to Turkey, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East, among other places. In India, he documented the end of British colonial rule in 1947/48. His most famous photographs were taken during the Korean War, published in his first book 'This Is War!' (1951). In it, he also portrayed the bereaved families of war victims. With the Vietnam War came the critical photo volumes in which Duncan departed from his role as a neutral correspondent and questioned the US government's approach. In addition to war photography, he also became known for photographs of Pablo Picasso, whom he had met through Robert CAPA. David Douglas DUNCAN died in June 2018 at the age of 102.
Photobooks by as well as about the work of David Douglas DUNCAN (a selection).
- 'This Is War!' (1951, 1990); "I Protest!" (1968); 'Yankee Nomad' (1966, updated in 2003 and 2010 as 'Photo Nomad'); 'War Without Heroes' (1970), 'Adieu Picasso' (19749, 'Fragile Miracle of Martin Gray' (1979); 'The World of Allah' (1983); 'New York, New York. Master Photographs of the Flying Dealer George Forss' (1984, ed.); 'Photographers A-Z' (2011, 2015, 2022, by Hans-Michael Koetzle); 'My 20th Century' (2014); 'Yesterday' (2016);
Awards and honors
- 1965: Two hundred thousandth Nikon F for David Douglas DUNCAN in recognition and appreciation of his popularization and use of Nikon products
1967: Overseas Press Club: Robert Capa Gold Medal
2015: Honorary citizenship of the Italian town of Camaiore