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The John Dominis Photographic Archive


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American olympians Tommie Smith (center) and John Carlos (right) raise their fists during the national anthem, Mexico City, 1968. John Dominis—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images.
A leopard moves in to kill a baboon, 1966. John Dominis—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Mickey Mantle tosses his batting helmet, 1965. John Dominis—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

The Briscoe Center has acquired the photographic archive of John Dominis, one of Life magazine's most celebrated photojournalists. Perhaps his best-known photograph is from the Mexico Olympics of 1968, showing American Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos giving the Black Power salute during the national anthem at a medal ceremony for the 200m sprint.

"Dominis covered all corners of the globe over a five-decade career and produced some of America's most memorable images of politicians, sports personalities and even wild predators," said Don Carleton, executive director at the Briscoe Center. "This large collection of slides, tear sheets and other materials enhances the center's already unrivalled photographic collections that together create an incredible visual resource for researchers of American life in the 20th century."

John Dominis was born in Los Angeles in 1921 to Croatian immigrants. He studied photography and played football at the University of Southern California before serving as a combat photographer during World War II. After the war, he remained in Asia working as a freelancer. He was hired full time by Life in 1950 to cover the Korean War. His career at Life lasted for more than twenty years and produced some of the most memorable images in American photojournalism, including a 1965 image of baseball star Mickey Mantle throwing his helmet in frustration; a 1966 series titled "The Great Cats of Africa"; and a 1969 series on the Woodstock festival. In 1975 he became picture editor at People magazine. Dominis served in a similar role at Sports Illustrated between 1978 and 1982.

This vast (40 linear feet) archive contains slides, prints, negatives, contact sheets and magazine articles documenting Dominis's career, along with his professional and personal interests. Dominis documented a wide range of subjects including the major political and cultural milestones of the 1960s and celebrities such as Frank Sinatra and Steve McQueen. An avid traveler, he photographed travel and wildlife subjects across the globe. Later in his career he covered housing and lifestyle trends, sports and food photography. The archive came to the center after being organized by Dominis's friend and colleague, photo editor M. C. Marden. It will be open for research later in 2017.

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