(“When it seemed that . . . machine-gunner [Corporal Leonard Hayworth] was shattered beyond all hope, a black-jawed, smiling old veteran crawled over . . . Sitting shoulder to shoulder with the younger man, he calmly told him how they were still holding the line . . . The grimy old veteran talked a feeble smile back upon the face of the corporal. Tears still streaked his face up under his helmet where the rain could not wash them away, but the Old Marine seemed not to notice. [Korea, September 1950.]” This Is War!, p. 26.)
Few people have lived as long, as varied and as complete a life as David Douglas Duncan. And certainly no photographers ever enjoyed a longer, more varied or more complete career than the Missouri native who today is celebrated as one of the indispensable photojournalists of the 20th century.
Born in Kansas City, Mo., on Jan. 23, 1916, Duncan started taking pictures for newspapers in the 1930s; joined the U.S. Marines after Pearl Harbor; made some of the most indelible photos to come out of World War II and, 20 years later, Vietnam; documented civil strife and wars in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East; captured ineffable beauty in environments as disparate as the west of Ireland and the deserts of America’s Southwest; befriended and photographed the likes of Picasso and Cartier-Bresson; and produced the single greatest portfolio of pictures to emerge from the Korean War.