JOHN LOENGARD, 1934-2020


Ray Macland, the LIFE Picture Editor in 1960, hired a group of young photographers he dubbed “The Young Lions”. There were 5 of us;

Farrell Grehan, Ken Hyman, Bill Ray, John Loengard & myself.

With John’s passing yesterday, that leaves just me.

Below is an excerpt from David Friend’s obituary for John.

John Loengard—the ‘most influential photographer’ on the staff of Life, according to American Photographer magazine—passed away at his New York City home on May 24, at age 85. The cause of death, according to his family, was heart failure. As a photographer, photo-essayist, photo-book editor, writer on the subject of photography and Life’s longtime director of photography during the 1970s and ’80s, he had an outsize impact on two generations of photojournalists and portrait photographers.”

“Loengard began shooting for Life as a Harvard senior in 1956, landing a staff position in 1961. He would become known for his classic, meditative black-and-white photo-essays on subjects as diverse as artist Georgia O’Keefe at Ghost Ranch, the last surviving Shaker communities, his family’s summer home in Maine and a memorable portfolio on photographic giants in their ’80s and ’90s. His most enduring portraits include studies of writers Maya Angelou, T.S. Eliot and Allen Ginsberg; Louis Armstrong’s lips; choreographer Merce Cunningham; Bill Cosby in profile; photographers Annie Leibovitz (on top of the Chrysler Building); James Van Der Zee (photographing composer Eubie Blake) and Henri Cartier-Bresson (flying a kite in a meadow) . . .”

“He is survived by his children Charles (Nataliya), Jenna and Anna (Christian), his grandchildren Duncan, Maia and Jacqueline, Great nieces Maranda (Jason) and Pippa (Weston) and her children Teddy and Cate and special friend Maggie Simmons.

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