When and if David Hume Kennerly finally passes on, some historian should send his eyeballs to the Smithsonian. For those photojournalist orbs have witnessed history, probed the character of dozens of world leaders, villains and ordinary people, focused on eight wars and covered every U.S. President from Richard M. Nixon to Barack Obama.

       After Time Magazine ran 25 of his pictures on the cover, President Ford offered him a job as his White House photographer.

     When I first met Kennerly in 1967 he had arrived from Roseburg, Oregon to join the Los Angeles bureau of UPI wire-photo.
Five years later, at the age of 25, he won a Pulitzer Prize as a combat photographer covering the Viet Nam War.
Today, at the ripe old age of 67, he’s out again shooting up a storm with an iPHONE. Now you can read and see what he’s experienced in his most recently published “DAVID HUME KENNERLY’S BOOK ON iPHONE.”
      “I created this book,” he said, “to help others become better photographers; to show what goes into a good picture. That includes soul. To pass on what took me a lifetime to learn.
      “Now let’s get back to 1967 and my favorite Kennerly caper.
In those days, UPI as well as AP wirephoto services were staffed with cynical, irreverent, scoop-conscious wolves. I loved them all, including Ernie Schworck, a bear of a photographer who told me this story: 
      One afternoon Kennerly shows up at a shootout in Manhattan Beach. Arthur Glenn Jones, an escaped killer from San Quentin, armed with a revolver and packing dynamite, was holed up in a motel on Sepulveda Blvd.
      As an explosion blew the roof off the building, Jones tumbled out of a shattered window. Kennerly began shooting one frame at a time as the mortally-wounded fugitive crawled toward him, looked into the lens of his camera and died in focus.
      Kennerly had never seen a man die. He was trembling when he returned to the UPI bureau. Schworck took his developed negatives, tossed them in the trash, and snarled, “Your stuff is crap!” Schworck then dug the negatives out of the bin, gave the rookie who was still suffering from the heebie-jeebies a fatherly hug and said, “Actually, you got some good stuff here, kid.”
“In this business,” said Kennerly recently, “you’ve got to possess a sense of humor and maintain an enthusiasm about what you are witnessing. Otherwise, you won’t survive.”
During his long career, David has traveled to more than 140 countries, doing what he likes best to do. As his wife Rebecca will testify: Take pictures.

–Boots LeBaron —
(Boots’ new book, THE HUMAN RACE, is available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.

It contains essays, light poetry and many human-interest stories)



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