Loengard, John 1934-

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Loengard, John 1934-


Born September 5, 1934, in New York, NY; son of Richard Otto and Margery Loengard; married Eleanor Sturgis, 1963 (divorced, 1986); children: Charles, Jennifer, Anna. Education: Harvard University, B.A., 1956.


Home—New York, NY. E-mail—[email protected].


Freelance photographer, 1956-61; Life (magazine), New York, NY, photographer, 1961-72; Time, Inc., New York, NY, picture editor with Magazine Development Group, beginning 1973, founding picture editor of People (magazine), 1973-74, picture editor of Life, 1978-87, contributing photographer, 1987-2000; writer and freelance photographer, 2000—. Teacher at International Center of Photography and New School for Social Research; also teacher at workshops throughout the United States. Exhibitions: Photographs exhibited in solo shows throughout the world, including International Center for Photography, New York, NY, 1987, U.S. Information Service exhibits in Africa, 1988-89, Saidye Bronfman Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1996, Leica Gallery, New York, NY, 2005, and Schirmer/Mosel Showroom, Munich, Germany, 2006; work represented in collections at various institutions, including National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC, George Eastman House, De Menil Foundation Collection, Vassar College Art Gallery, and International Center of Photography.


Award for best magazine picture story, University of Missouri, 1982, for "Shooting Past 80"; American Society of Magazine Photographers, award for excellence in photography (with others), 1986, for Life, Ansel Adams Award for book photography, 1987, for Pictures under Discussion; Lifetime Achievement Award, Photographic Administrators Inc., 1996, for "multi-faceted contributions to journalism"; Henry R. Luce Lifetime Achievement Award, Time, Inc., 2004.


(Photographer) Pictures under Discussion, Watson-Guptill (New York, NY), 1987.

Life Classic Photographs: A Personal Interpretation, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1988, expanded edition, 1996.

Life Faces, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1991.

(And photographer) Celebrating the Negative, Arcade (New York, NY), 1994.

(And photographer) Georgia O'Keeffe at Ghost Ranch: A Photo Essay, Stewart, Tabori & Chang (New York, NY), 1995.

Life Photographers: What They Saw (interviews), Bulfinch Press (Boston, MA), 1998.

(Consulting editor and author of introduction) Gordon Parks, The Great Life Photographers, Bulfinch Press (Boston, MA), 2004.

As I See It (photographs and commentary), Vendome Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Georgia O'Keeffe/John Loengard: Paintings and Photographs (primarily artwork), Schirmer/Mosel (Munich, Germany), 2006, published as Image and Imagination: Georgia O'Keeffe by John Loengard, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2007.

Columnist for Popular Photography, 1987-88, and American Photo, 1988—. Contributor of photographic essays to periodicals, including Fortune and Travel and Leisure.


John Loengard is a prize-winning photographer, whose publications include numerous works related to photography. In 1956 he completed his first photography assignment for the weekly periodical Life. In 1961 he joined the Life staff and in the ensuing decade produced photographic essays on such subjects as the Shakers and American painter Georgia O'Keeffe. After Life ceased publication in 1972, Loengard became a picture editor for the Magazine Development Group of Time, Incorporated. Two years later, he became picture editor of the weekly People magazine for its initial issues. In 1978, when Life was revived as a monthly publication, Loengard rejoined the magazine as picture editor. He held that title until 1987.

Loengard's book Life Classic Photographs: A Personal Interpretation includes works by such esteemed photographers as Alfred Eisenstaedt and Margaret Bourke-White. Loengard then produced Celebrating the Negative. For book, Loengard photographed negatives of celebrated photographs, and he set his photographs against bright backgrounds. His method, as Richard Lacayo noted in People, results in some works—a picture of Babe Ruth, another of the flag raising at Iwo Jima—that "seem as strange and small as Persian miniatures." A.D. Coleman, writing in Photography in New York, noted that in Celebrating the Negative, Loengard "has realized a small but intriguing concept: that there's something to be learned from photographers' negatives in their own right." Coleman added that "the results will fascinate and instruct."

Loengard's next book, Georgia O'Keeffe at Ghost Ranch: A Photo Essay, is a rearranging of his celebrated photographic essay on O'Keeffe that appeared in Life in the mid-1960s. Loengard had accompanied O'Keeffe for three days at the painter's isolated home in the desert of New Mexico. During that period, Loengard produced a range of photographs, from rattlesnake rattles and cattle skulls to candid shots of O'Keeffe gardening at home or strolling in the desert. A Publishers Weekly critic observed that Georgia O'Keeffe at Ghost Ranch "attests glowingly to O'Keeffe's enduring prestige." A Kirkus Reviews contributor, meanwhile, noted that Loengard's photographs depict "a woman of striking physical beauty."

A different arrangement of the O'Keeffe photographs was published as Georgia O'Keeffe/John Loengard: Paintings and Photographs. The photographs that Loengard shot of O'Keeffe in New Mexico in the 1960s follow the artist in the desert, doing everything but painting. Yet the photographs, according to some reviewers, reveal a great deal about the woman and her artistic vision. In typical Loengard fashion (and apparently in compliance with O'Keeffe's wishes not to be photographed while painting), Loengard captures the unexpected, the overlooked nuances of his subject's persona. His black-and-white photographs, juxtaposed with color reproductions of O'Keeffe's own work, add resonance to the vision of the artist and her work that transcend the written word.

In 1998 Loengard published Life Photographers: What They Saw, a collection of interviews with such photographers as Eisenstaedt, Andreas Feininger, and Gordon Parks. American Way reviewer Bill Marvel commented that Loengard's book reveals the various photographers' "resourcefulness and intelligence." Coleman wrote in Photography in New York that Life Photographers constitutes "a multi-faceted vision of the glory days of the picture press." Grace Glueck, writing in the New York Times, commented that a related exhibition "reaffirms that photojournalism is an art all its own."

In a more personal vein, As I See It is Loengard's collection of his own most memorable photographs, accompanied by brief stories that describe the circumstances behind each shot. Most are portraits, including his signature photographs of celebrities, more often at rest than at work, captured on film in the unexpected moment. All of them, according to reviewers, reveal the intimate nuances of personality that elude the formal pose. John Nordell commented in the Christian Science Monitor that, in this collection, the photographs rather than their subjects are the stars: "The quality of light and the expressions captured by Lonegard generate their own intrinsic drama."



American Way, November, 1998, Bill Marvel, review of Life Photographers: What They Saw.

Booklist, March 1, 2007, Donna Seaman, review of Image and Imagination: Georgia O'Keeffe by John Loengard, p. 50.

Christian Science Monitor, December 6, 2005, John Nordell, review of As I See It.

Guardian, November 19, 2005, Alexander Chancellor, review of As I See It.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 1995, review of Georgia O'Keeffe at Ghost Ranch: A Photo Essay.

Library Journal, March 1, 2007, Amy K. Weiss, review of Image and Imagination, p. 80.

New York Times, November 13, 1998, Grace Glueck, review of Life Photographers; March 31, 2000, Vicki Goldberg, review of Celebrating the Negative.

People, November 7, 1994, Richard Lacayo, review of Celebrating the Negative.

Photography in New York, May-June, 1995, A.D. Coleman, review of Celebrating the Negative; November-December, 1998, A.D. Coleman, review of Life Photographers.

Publishers Weekly, March 6, 1995, review of Georgia O'Keeffe at Ghost Ranch, p. 50.