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Briscoe Center Acquires Archive of Photojournalist Dennis Brack

May 21, 2012

Dennis Brack prepares to photograph from the top of the Washington Monument.
Dennis Brack prepares to photograph from the top of the Washington Monument.

AUSTIN, Texas — Award-winning photojournalist Dennis Brack, who covered ten presidential administrations and major news stories for Time and Newsweek, has donated his photographic archive to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin.

The Dennis Brack Photographic Archive spans the last five decades and includes more than 150,000 slides of U.S. presidents from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama, world leaders, members of congress and Supreme Court justices. Also documented are American military personnel and operations, wars, war protests, key moments of the civil rights movement and riots. The collection also features Brack's coverage of public works projects, social issues, human interest stories and entertainment.

"We are grateful that Dennis Brack has chosen the Briscoe Center as the permanent home for this substantive collection," stated Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. "His work joins that of his colleagues—David Kennerly, Diana Walker, Dirck Halstead, Darryl Heikes, PF Bentley and Flip Shulke—whose photographs captured important newsmakers and events. This body of work adds significantly to the center's collections documenting the historical development of the news media in the United States."

Brack earned an exclusive to photograph Watergate for Time in 1974. His coverage of the first Gulf War was particularly noteworthy: within the same week his photographs were on the covers of Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Paris Match and many other magazines. One of the hardest-working news photographers, he averaged one published photo per week in Time for more than 20 years. More than 100 photos from Brack's archive are part of a retrospective exhibition that recently opened at Washington and Lee University, Virginia, Brack's alma mater.

Brack's interest in photography began while working on his high school newspaper. His journalism training continued at Washington and Lee University and during summers at the Dallas Morning News. After graduating in 1962, he freelanced for local magazines while studying law. Although he earned a degree from George Washington University School of Law, he chose to become a photojournalist. Based in Washington, D.C., he joined Black Star Publishing Company and worked for the Washington Post, Life, Time and Newsweek. In 1972 he became a Time contract photographer, covering news stories for the next 23 years. He has photographed stories on every continent, and his work has been published in magazines around the world. After Time he continued work for Black Star, covering the news, photographing corporate annual reports and working on assignment for advertising agencies. He continues to cover the White House and Capitol Hill.

For 25 years, Brack was the secretary/treasurer of the U.S. Senate Standing Committee of Press Photographers, a six-member committee that determines photographic coverage of the House of Representatives and Senate, political conventions and presidential inaugurations. From 2006 to 2008 Brack was president of the White House News Photographers Association.

Brack's photographic work has been recognized by the National Newspaper Photographers Association and the World Press Association. The White House News Photographers Association honored him with its lifetime achievement award last year.

The Dennis Brack Photographic Archive is open for research. The guide detailing its contents can be viewed at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utcah/01222/cah-01222.html.

View a slideshow of Brack's photographs at http://www.cah.utexas.edu/collections/photojournalists/brack.php.
 

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