John Loengard, Life Photographer and Chronicler, Dies at 85

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When Life journal despatched John Loengard to Miami to photograph the Beatles in February 1964, he had a unusual thought: Pose them in a swimming pool, as a Fab 4 of bobbing heads. However on a really chilly day, he might discover solely an unheated pool.

The Beatles have been reluctant to take the dip, however their supervisor, Brian Epstein, urged them in, citing Life’s significance. “It was very, very cold, and they were turning blue, so after a minute or two we let them get out,” Mr. Loengard told The Guardian in 2005.

The image caught John, Paul, George and Ringo smiling and singing within the water throughout their introduction to the USA. To Mr. Loengard, it was his most American image in 11 years as considered one of Life’s main photographers.

Mr. Loengard died on Might 24 at his dwelling in Manhattan. He was 85. His daughter Anna Loengard mentioned the trigger was coronary heart failure.

From round age 11, when his father obtained him his first digital camera, a Kodak Brownie, Mr. Loengard (pronounced LOW-en-guard) understood that there was magic in images, that photos caught inside a field might endure endlessly.

At Life, the place phrases have been subservient to footage, Mr. Loengard prolonged that magic and have become one of many journal’s most influential photographers, following within the path of Alfred Eisenstaedt, Margaret Bourke-White and W. Eugene Smith.

Working nearly solely in black and white, Mr. Loengard photographed stars like Judy Garland and Jayne Mansfield, and heads of state like President John F. Kennedy, strolling in Frankfurt with German officers in 1963, and Queen Elizabeth II on a visit to Ethiopia in 1965.

He captured Louis Armstrong spreading balm over his chapped lips. He created a portrait of grief in Myrlie Evers’s comforting of her 9-year-old son, Darrell, on the funeral in 1963 of her husband, the civil rights chief Medgar Evers, who had been murdered. He caught the poet Allen Ginsberg almost hidden by a veil of cigarette smoke, its wisps seeming to increase from his hair.

In 1966 and 1967, Mr. Loengard went to New Mexico to {photograph} the modernist painter Georgia O’Keeffe. He didn’t need to depict her as different photographers had, amongst them her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, and Yousuf Karsh. He serendipitously discovered a brand new option to painting her when she advised him about killing rattlesnakes on her property with a stick.

“As we were having lunch, she pulled out from the sideboard boxes of the rattles that she’d collected,” he recalled in “Life Photographers: What They Saw” (1998), a set of 43 interviews he performed (and one which another person performed of him). “I figured O’Keeffe want to be identified to the readers of Life journal as a killer. I requested if I would take footage on the desk.

“‘Certainly,’ she mentioned. “I photographed her hand shifting the rattles round one of many little containers, with a picket match.”

The O’Keeffe images, a few of which appeared in Life, have been included in a e-book, “Georgia O’Keeffe/John Loengard: Paintings and Photographs,” printed in 2006.

Publishers Weekly said the side-by-side displays of Ms. O’Keeffe’s work and Mr. Loengard’s images afforded “a rich viewing experience that elevates appreciation of both.”

After Life stopped publishing weekly in 1972, Mr. Loengard stayed at its mother or father firm, Time Inc., with its journal improvement group; he helped begin Individuals journal in 1974 and served as image editor for particular editions of Life and of a month-to-month model of Life that started in 1978. He left in 1987 to freelance for numerous publications, together with Life and Individuals, and for company reviews.

John Borg Loengard was born on Sept. 5, 1934, in Manhattan. His father, Richard, was an engineer and the president of United Chromium; his mom, Margery (Borg) Loengard, was a homemaker.

Together with his Brownie, younger John took footage of his household and buddies and of native landmarks. Together with his father’s assist, he developed his footage within the rest room.

“I’ve been hooked ever since,” he told Rfotofolio, a images web site, in 2016.

He took footage for his highschool newspaper. And whereas attending Harvard College, the place he earned a bachelor’s diploma in American historical past, he obtained his first task from Life, to {photograph} a tanker that had gone aground on Cape Cod.

The photographs by no means ran, however he obtained extra assignments. He was employed by the journal in 1961.

At Carnegie Corridor that 12 months, he took a dramatic photo of Judy Garland as she bent over to the touch the palms of viewers members. All eyes have been riveted on her, together with these of 1 man who appeared rapturous. It’s an emotional image, however Mr. Loengard mentioned it was not one.

“I fudged details and relied only on strong form,” like her again and head and the open mouth of her ecstatic fan, he wrote in “As I See It” (2005), a retrospective of his work. “The camera’s veracity was not needed.” It would as nicely have been a portray, he added.

After leaving Life, Mr. Loengard turned as famend for his books as for his images. He wrote about his personal work in “Pictures Under Discussion” (1987) and “Moment by Moment” (2016); commented on evocative Life footage of human expression in “Faces” (1991); paid homage to the photographic course of in “Celebrating the Negative” (1994); and compiled his portraits of Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson and different photographers in “Age of Silver: Encounters With Great Photographers” (2011).

When American Photo magazine ranked him 80th among the many 100 most essential folks in images in 2005, it described him as a “wonderful photographer” who had “turned his intimate knowledge and passion for Life into a remarkable career as a writer.”

Along with his daughter Anna, Mr. Loengard is survived by one other daughter, Jenna Loengard; his son, Charles; three grandchildren; and two step-grandchildren. His marriage to Eleanor Sturgis resulted in divorce.

Certainly one of Mr. Loengard’s photographic heroes was Mr. Cartier-Bresson, the grasp of road images, who had performed his finest for a few years to keep away from having anybody {photograph} him.

When Mr. Loengard requested him to pose for footage that will accompany a Museum of Trendy Artwork exhibition of his early work, Mr. Cartier-Bresson requested, “Can you take all the pictures from behind?”

No, he mentioned, he couldn’t.

“I felt the most important thing was to nail him down, as quickly as possible — get that face — and then he started taking pictures of me, and he went click-click,” Mr. Loengard said on the PBS show “Charlie Rose” in 2011, “and I had a motor on my digital camera, so I went ‘zeep-zeep,’ and we seemed like two bugs getting all for one another.

“He thought this was amusing, and he giggled.”


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