Born James Barnas (1945), in the late 1960s he and his brother Robert took the surnames of the main characters ("Roark" and "John Galt") from the Ayn Rand novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
In 1970, Roark shot the photographs for a book titled "Rock Beyond Woodstock" authored by Michael Ross.
Roark was nominated for the Pulitzer prize in 1976 for his photograph of Chicago Cubs outfielder Rick Monday saving an American flag from being burned by two protesters. He took the famous photograph on April 25, 1976 at Dodger Stadium. After the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner closed in 1989 he lost his job and moved to Portland, Oregon.
Roark died on October 15, 1995 at the age of 49 after being beaten during an attempted robbery. He was walking to a MAX Light Rail station after leaving work at Poor Richard's Restaurant, where he worked as a cook.
- "Photographer's Friends Recall His Vibrant Career". Eugene Register-Guard. 21 October 1995. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
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