Richard Saunders (photographer)

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Richard Saunders (1922–1987) was an American photographer of the 20th century. He was noted for his photojournalism work with Roy Stryker, as well as in publications such as Ladies Home Journal, Fortune, Ebony and Look, among others.

Early life[edit]

Richard Clive Saunders was born in 1922 in Hamilton, Bermuda. His interest in photography began at a young age. In 1930, at age eight, his family moved to the United States.

At the outbreak of World War II, the family returned to Bermuda where Saunders worked as a photographer with the police department. During the 1940s, Saunders returned to the United States and began photography training at Brooklyn College and the New School for Social Research in New York City. He became friends with photographer and artist Gordon Parks, and acquired a job as a photographic lab technician, which enabled him to study and learn the techniques of the top photojournalists at Life magazine.


In the early 1950s, Saunders was invited by Roy Stryker to join his team of top photojournalists in Pittsburgh to document the city's transition from a smoky milltown to a modern city. Saunders spent nearly two years there, living in the Hill District, where he "became part of the environment" and took four to five thousand photographs of the community. Many of his photos from this period are now part of the collection of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

During the 1950s, Saunders went on assignments for top publications such as Ladies Home Journal, Fortune, Ebony and Look, among others. He also travelled to Latin America to document the Alliance for Progress, an economic development program sponsored by the U.S. government.

In 1967, Saunders joined the staff of Topic, a magazine of the United States Information Agency (USIA), published quarterly in English and French in sub-Saharan Africa.[1] Based in Tunis, he travelled throughout Africa photographing events, leaders and ordinary people. In 1972 he was transferred to Topic's Washington, D.C. office. Saunders continued to travel and photograph in Africa until his retirement in 1986.

In addition to his magazine work, Saunders exhibited his work in group and one-person shows. He was also affiliated with Black Star Publishing Company. [2]

Some of the noted personalities he photographed include Henry Kissinger, Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammed, James Baldwin, Leonard Bernstein, James Brown and Adam Clayton Powell Jr., among many others.

Many of his photos are now part of Bermuda National Gallery Collection.

Richard Saunders died on August 20, 1987.[3]


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