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Photojournalism: Frank Johnston

Frank Johnston with President Ronald Reagan.
Frank Johnston and Ronald Reagan
photo by Jack Kightlinger

The son of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s chief photographer, Frank Johnston became a photographer in his own right, covering such history-making stories as the Lee Harvey Oswald shooting, the war in Vietnam, the mass suicide of Jim Jones’s followers in Guyana, and Richard Nixon’s resignation. After stringing for United Press International (UPI) while at the University of Pennsylvania and working as a Marine Corps photographer, Frank was hired by UPI in 1963. His photos of Lee Harvey Oswald’s shooting were distributed and published throughout the world. Presidential campaigns and political conventions followed, then a stint as UPI news picture bureau manager and chief photographer in Philadelphia.

Volunteering to be a combat photographer for UPI in Vietnam, Johnston spent thirteen months and forty-seven combat operations photographing the war. He joined the staff of the Washington Post in October 1968 and went on to cover Watergate, space launches, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and eight presidential administrations, from Lyndon B. Johnson to George W. Bush. In 2007, Johnston received the Lifetime Achievement award from the White House News Photographers.

Johnston donated his archive to the Briscoe Center in 2012.

Finding aid for the Frank Johnston Photographic Archive
Frank Johnston Gallery
Photojournalism (Collection Strength)
News Media History (Collection Strength)