Photographer Henri Dauman, who has been called one of the greatest photojournalists of the 20th century, has died at the age of 90.
According to Blind Magazine, photographer and Holocaust survivor Dauman died in New York on September 13.
During his career as a photographer, he captured some of the biggest cultural icons of the 1960s including John and Jacqueline Kennedy, Andy Warhol, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali, and Andy Warhol.
Dauman was born in 1933 in Paris, France, and endured several tragedies in his early life before becoming a photographer.
He was only nine years old when his father was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp by the Nazis — where he died that same year.
Dauman and his mother escaped and hid with different families in Limay apart from one another for several years. When the mother and son were eventually reunited in Paris after the Liberation, it was tragically brief.
When Dauman turned 14, his mother accidentally ingested poisoned bicarbonate purchased on the black market. He was left an orphan.
Blind Magazine reports that Dauman spent the next four “bleak” years in an orphanage and took refuge in cinema. He became an apprentice at a photo in Courbevoie, and then an assistant fashion photographer in Paris.
It was at this time that he purchased his first camera, a cheap medium-format twin-lens reflex, and started shooting Parisian street scenes.
At the age of 17, Dauman was invited to New York City by his uncle and traveled across the Atlantic to join him.
According to The Times of Israel, Dauman worked nonstop to build his portfolio after arriving in New York and he fell in love with photojournalism. Dauman listened to the news and scoured for events to try to be at the right place at the right time to capture the perfect shot.
By his mid-20s, the photographer’s determination paid off and Dauman landed a position at Life magazine. He published his first story in the publication on the marriage of Jean Seberg and the French lawyer François Maureuil in Marshalltown, Iowa.
For more than four decades, he worked with other publishers and magazines such as New York Times, New York Magazine, Newsweek, Smithsonian and Town & Country. Dauman documented some of the foremost historical and cultural events with his camera, from civil rights struggles to the moment Jacqueline Kennedy walked behind her husband’s casket.
“When I’m wearing a camera around my neck, I basically have no fear,” Dauman reportedly once said.
In 2018, Dauman’s life was the subject of a biographical film entitled Looking Up which was produced by the photographer’s granddaughter Nicole Suerez and her partner Peter ones.
Image credits: Featured photo via YouTube/Looking Up.