tv Oral Histories Don Carleton Interview on Photojournalism Collection CSPAN October 14, 2017 10:10am-10:21am EDT
so that's truly amazing, is that i'm getting to see things that private property owners have and are willing to share with me. >> you can learn more about the project at her website. saving slave houses.org. and you can view this and all other american history tv programs at c-span.org/history. >> in about 10 minutes, we will air an oral history interview with photojournalist frank johnston, who worked for united press international in the 1960's and for the "washington post" 35 years. we will see his photos and talk about his career covering the vietnam war, jonestown massacre, and the events in texas following president kennedy's assassination. the briscoe center for american history at the university of texas archived his photos and those of other nationally
recognized photographers. next, we learn more about this collection from the center's executive director. >> on the phone with us here on american history tv is dr. don carleton, executive director of the university of texas at austin's dolph briscoe center for american history. thank you for speaking with us. >> delighted to be here. >> why was it important to create a photojournalism collection? dr. carleton: well, news and documentary photography, while the intent is to record the news, also produces valuable historic evidence. these are visual documents that can be read just like a diary or a letter or any text or artifact. so we wanted to include photographs in our holdings that document and provide evidence of the past. we began this initiative about 25 years ago, because the archives of news photographers
and/or for journalists, which photojournalists, whatever you want to call them, are basically being ignored by most museums, who were more interested in art photography. since we've started, we have amassed a collection of the archives of more than 40 photographers. and when i say and archives, we are talking about definitive collections including negatives, prints, contact sheets. we have approximately 8 million photographic images plus, the , papers and memorabilia of several of the photographers who have placed their archives with us. we have copublished, with the university of texas press, several books based exclusively on our photographic holdings. theow did you select photographers you decided to include in the collection? dr. carleton: we have a very extensive collection of political history and
congressional history in particular, because we have the sam rayburn and john s garner papers and the papers of nearly 70 former members of congress. and so one of the things we wanted to focus on were photographers in particular who were based in washington, d.c., because -- although that is not our exclusive area. but we were particularly interested in those photographers who covered the white house, congress, politics, and so forth. it was obvious to us who the leading photographers have been in the post-world war ii era, that had been covering politics. that was one of the criteria that were used as we selected and picked and chose, really, who we thought were the best. >> what prompted you to videotape the interviews you did with the photographers? dr. carleton: we did a major exhibition called "news to
history" about three or four years ago. that exhibit showcased every one of the photographers whose collections are here with us. we had the exhibit in the lbj library. so while we brought these photographers to austin for sort sort of -- sort of a reunion and , while we had them here, we took the opportunity to do these video interviews of some of the photographers. >> photojournalists spend most of their lives behind a camera. what were some of the things you discovered once you made the photojournalists themselves the subject of the story? dr. carleton: well, every photograph, as they say, just about, has a story behind the photograph. there is usually a back story behind the photograph. and the best person to tell that story is the person who took the photograph, the photographer. one of the things we were interested in, in these
interviews was to get a few , stories of some of their favorite photographs or the photographs they thought were the most important. but we were also interested in really capturing their thoughts about their work and the value of preserving it. >> can you give us a short biography of some of the photographers that you have interviewed? dr. carleton: sure. we have got frank johnston, who was there at the lee harvey oswald shooting, when jack ruby shot lee harvey oswald, november of 1963. frank was also at the jim jones suicide massacre. he was a stringer for the united press international for several years but spent a lot of years as a staff photographer for the "washington post." i think he began in about 1968.
eric draper is another one. eric draper was the only official white house photographer for george w. bush. eric's work -- he also worked as a staff photographer for "the seattle times," "the albuquerque also for "the associated press." his work is particularly noteworthy because of the vantage point that he had covering 9/11, right out of the white house. we also have darryl heikes, who was a stringer for upi, associated press, and was particularly important from our standpoint as a photographer covering the carter administration. because carter, strangely enough, never really had an official white house ,hotographer and so the press
the photojournalists who covered the carter administration really had the images that we would have normally gotten three white house photographer. then we have lucian perkins, a two-time pulitzer prize winner. he won it in 1995 and 2000. he is a proud graduate of the university of texas at austin. for 27 years, he was a staff photographer for "the washington post." he won the pulitzer prize for covering three generations of poverty in washington, d.c. and also the rest of the -- refugee situation in kosovo. then we also have the collection of david valdez, who did an interview with us as well. david was george h. w. bush's white house photographer. he published a book of those as well. then we have diana walker, a "time" magazine photographer for 20 years.
she is especially known for her work covering hillary clinton. but she covered the clinton white house really broadly and deeply. she also covered the reagan administration, and george h.w. bush. david valdez and diana walker are actively involved in our program. they both belong to our advisory council here at the briscoe center. >> what do you hope viewers will take away after watching these interviews? dr. carleton: the importance of photojournalists and news photographers, documentary photographers, they go by various names. they self identify in different ways. they are all photographers. but the value of their work, not only for the news, illustrating the news, but also as historical evidence these photographs , capture and document an
amazing array of extremely important processes and events and personalities. so i hope the public appreciates the work that they do. they see their work every day on television and newspapers and so forth. i hope that they would do more than just appreciate the photograph but appreciate the photographers themselves. >> don carleton is the executive director of the university of texas at austin's dolph briscoe center for american history. thanks for joining us. dr. carleton: you are welcome. in americand history tv? visit our website, c-span.org/history. view our tv schedule, preview upcoming programs, and watch -- collegeectures lectures, archival films, and more at c-span.org/history. up next on american history tv,
we hear from lucian perkins, perkins, a two-time pulitzer prize winner and former "washington post" staff photographer. he talks about his career and his photos of fours and the former yugoslavia, chechnya, iraq, and afghanistan as well as adc family living in poverty. the university of texas recorded the interview and archived his photographs along with other recognized photographers. this is just over 40 minutes. >> talking with lucian perkins. at the briscoe center, today is february 15, 2015. lucian, you started out in your photography career here at the university of texas. working at "the daily texan," and also i understand you worked winngary