bryson photo

03 May 2009

John Bryson, a photojournalist known for his ability to capture images of celebrities and world leaders at their homes or at work... ...formerly had homes in Manhattan; East Hampton, N.Y.; and Malibu, Calif.

For more than 30 years, Mr. Bryson took pictures of historic events and the people who made them happen, from President John F. Kennedy and the Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev to Armand Hammer, the multinational industrialist.

He established his reputation working for Life magazine as a correspondent, bureau chief and picture editor. In 1955 he became a freelance photojournalist whose work appeared in Life and other national publications. His pictures, including portraits, were shown in exhibitions and won awards from photography associations, including the American Society of Magazine Photographers.

Born in Brownwood, Tex., John Bryan Bryson bought his first camera at 8. He served in the Army Air Forces in World War II and studied at the University of Texas, where he edited the student magazine. An article about cheating at the university's business school led to an invitation to New York, a job as a researcher at Time Inc. in 1947, and eventually to Life.

Mr. Bryson began a lasting professional relationship with Katharine Hepburn in 1974 when he photographed her and John Wayne on location in Oregon for the film "Rooster Cogburn." From then on, Hepburn usually called Mr. Bryson when a magazine wanted pictures of her.

On a freelance assignment to photograph Ernest and Mary Hemingway in Ketchum, Idaho, he took a celebrated picture of Ernest Hemingway kicking a can along a rural road.

Among his books were "The Private World of Katharine Hepburn" (1990) and "The World of Armand Hammer," (1985), which grew out of travel on Hammer's personal jet.

Excerpted from the New York Times

August 13, 2005

By Wolfgang Saxon