Dan Budnik, Who Photographed History, Is Dead at 87

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tags: civil rights, photography, obituary

Dan Budnik, a photographer who captured abiding images of 1950s artists at work, key events of the civil rights movement, the Hudson River restoration effort, Native Americans in the Southwest and more, died on Aug. 14 at an assisted living residence in Tucson, Ariz. He was 87.

His nephew, Kim Newton, said the causes were metabolic encephalopathy and dementia.

Mr. Budnik shot assignments for Life, Look and numerous other leading magazines, and his work was collected in several books, including “Marching to the Freedom Dream” (2014), which featured his pictures from three significant civil rights moments: the 1958 Youth March for Integrated Schools, the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the protest march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., in 1965.

There were many photographers at those events, but Mr. Budnik had a knack for the unexpected yet telling moment. At the March on Washington, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, Mr. Budnik took a position behind Dr. King as he addressed the enormous crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

“I knew everyone else would be photographing him from the front and the sides,” he said in an interview in “Marching to the Freedom Dream.” “But I’m about six steps above him, knowing he had to exit in reverse and go up the steps to where I was.”

He was rewarded with memorable images of Dr. King being swarmed by well wishers. One showed a white man eager to shake Dr. King’s hand.

Read entire article at The New York Times