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Photojournalism and the American Presidency - Reading America's Photos
Photojournalism and the American Presidency - Reading America's Photos
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Dirck Halstead
Headshot of Dirck Halstead


"If you want to figure out what sort of president a person's going to be, the best people to ask early on are the photographers. We're looking through that lens, and we're looking into the soul of that president. That's our job--and we're very rarely wrong."

- Dirck Halstead

At age 17, Dirck Halstead was most likely the youngest photographer covering the 1954 Guatemalan coup. This Life magazine assignment set him on the path to photojournalism, and he never looked back. In 1965, Halstead became UPI's first photo bureau chief in Saigon during the Vietnam War. After returning stateside in 1966, he went to work for Time magazine--eventually becoming the senior White House photographer (covering presidents from Nixon to Clinton) and contributing a record 51 cover photographs. These days, he's a freelance magazine and advertising photographer and documentary videomaker.

Not content to merely take the pictures, Halstead is editor and publisher of The Digital Journalist, the online photojournalism magazine. He's also director of the Platypus Workshops, which has trained more than 250 photojournalists in the language of television news. As if all that weren't enough, Halstead also teaches a course in visual journalism at The University of Texas at Austin and is a Fellow at the Center for American History.

For access to additional photographs by Dirck Halstead, as well as to purchase prints of his work, contact Alison Beck at the Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

The Digital Journalist

Dirck Halstead Gallery

Click below to enlarge photographs:

Dirck Halstead and David Hume Kennerly as young photojournalists at work in Chon Thanh, VietnamComedian Bob Hope and Miss World Runner-Up, Dianna Lynn Batts entertain U.S troops.President Nixon dines with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai.
A Vietnamese father clutches his wounded baby.A Sioux activist brandishes his AK-47.President Clinton embraces White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

See other photojournalists

Dirck Halstead

Diana Walker

Wally McNamee

David Hume Kennerly

Video Clip
Still from Looking into the Souls of Presidents video
"Looking into the Souls of Presidents"

Video Clip
Still from The Complexity of Photography video
"The Complexity of Photography"

Video Clip
Still from Access:  Inside the Bubble video
"Access: Inside the Bubble"

The Briscoe Center for American History