Kennerly Archives Acquired by UA Center for Creative Photography


By Gina Compitello, Creative Photography Center

October 10, 2019

David Hume Kennerly captured this image of former Presidents George HW Bush, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter in the Oval Office of the White House two weeks before Obama’s inauguration.
(Photo: David Hume Kennerly. Collection: Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona: David Hume Kennerly Archive. © Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents)

University of Arizona Center for Creative Photography Acquires Archives of Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographer David Hume Kennerly.

Kennerly is one of the most famous photojournalists of the modern era. His images have appeared in hundreds of publications around the world, including on the covers of Time, Newsweek and Life. He has photographed 10 US presidents, from Lyndon B. Johnson to Donald Trump, and world figures such as Queen Elizabeth II, Mikhail Gorbachev, Anwar El Sadat, Fidel Castro, Deng Xioping and many more.

Spanning over 50 years of history since 1965, David Hume Kennerly’s Archives contain nearly a million images, prints, artifacts, memorabilia, correspondence and documents. It includes iconic portraits of US presidents, world leaders, celebrities and individuals, as well as personal correspondence and memorabilia such as the helmet and cameras that Kennerly used to photograph the Vietnam War. Records attest to the integrity of the press photographer’s career, as he shaped his focus on history as it was made, often providing exclusive documentation of important world events.

“David Hume Kennerly’s extraordinary photo archive is an asset to academics, students and visitors to campus. Its visual heritage will be an integral part of our curriculum, ”said the president of the University of Arizona. Robert C. Robbins. “He is already working with the Center for Creative Photography to create programming that will draw on his experience and expertise and spark conversations on our campus and in the community at large.”

The University of Arizona’s acquisition of the archives comes as the university introduces a new program that will harness the power of photography to change the way history is understood. Last year, Kennerly was named the University of Arizona’s first Presidential Fellow, an honorary position dedicated to fostering interdisciplinary work and the study of photography among the arts, humanities, and sciences. social. The Kennerly Archives will provide innovative resources to learn from and build on current understanding and knowledge of world history.

“The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona is the pinnacle of photographic institutions. Their dynamic leadership values ​​the importance of images and they are committed to integrating them into the larger curriculum of the university, ”said Kennerly. “Having my archives join the work of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and so many other great CCP photographers is by far one of the most exciting and satisfying moments of my life. “

Representing the powerful and the powerless, Kennerly’s photographs helped define the genre of political and portrait photography in the modern era. Providing viewers with a renewed understanding of famous personalities and unknown subjects, his images offer in-depth examinations of daily life and intimate explorations of global political events such as the Vietnam War, Watergate, the Middle Peace Process. Orient and the Camp David accords in the 1970s, Jonestown, the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and September 11. Seeking to record historical events, often in dangerous locations, Kennerly’s foresight about the impact of images on audiences catalyzed his relentless drive to create an intimate documentation of history in the making.

Photographs from the archives reveal Kennerly’s extraordinary eye for capturing both human and geographic subjects. Whether it’s celebrities on set, vacationers, or presidential candidates in intimate celebratory moments, like the 2009 Obamas photograph on his inauguration night, Kennerly’s images capture the zeitgeist. historic times and set the high standards of outspoken journalism that the American public expected from the media.

“David Hume Kennerly’s contribution to the practice of photojournalism is unmatched, and the Center for Creative Photography is ready and proud to handle such a critical body of work,” said Anne Breckenridge Barrett, associate vice president for the arts at the University of Arizona and director of the Center for Creative Photography. “The addition of the Kennerly Archives to our unprecedented holdings will not only allow the Center to connect the relevance of Kennerly’s work to the photographic legacy we defend, but will also allow us to focus our priorities on digital access, engagement and expansion. “

It is fitting that the Kennerly Archives find their home in the place founded by its colleague, friend and world-renowned photographer, Ansel Adams. The Center for Creative Photography collects, protects and promotes the relevance and importance of photography, thereby deepening the understanding of the medium’s impact on society. Kennerly’s work joins the work of over 2,200 photographers, including W. Eugene Smith, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Edward Weston and Garry Winogrand.

Additional information


In the Room with David Hume Kennerly with Jon Meacham Presented by Bank of America


Centenary Hall


Friday October 11 7 p.m.

A conference with Kennerly and fellow Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meacham will take place on October 11 at the University of Arizona. They will present the university’s In the Room series, which shares firsthand accounts of being “in the room” where history was made..

Along with the acquisition of the archives, the Center for Creative Photography will open a year-long exhibition, David Hume Kennerly: Witness to History, on October 11.

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