Many great photographers are known by their images, while their names may have no wide recognition. That’s even more the case when you’re talking about photographers who are no longer with us. Take Ed Clark, a mainstay of LIFE magazine from the 1940s through JFK’s presidency.
Now, and running through June 1, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut has a wonderful exhibition titled, Ed Clark: American Photojournalist. The Bruce, as it’s known to locals, is a terrific museum and always is filled with superb art in all media from its permanent collection as well as travelling shows. It also has the great advantage of being a five-minute walk from the Metro-North train station and just off Exit 3 of the Connecticut Turnpike (I-95).
Ed Clark’s best-known image is of Navy Chief Petty Officer Graham Jackson, playing Goin’ Home as FDR’s body is carried by train from Warm Springs, Georgia, after the President’s death in 1945. But Clark’s range of work for Life covered the post-WWII rebuilding of Europe, the Eisenhower and Kennedy presidencies, small-town life throughout The South (Clark was a native Tennessean), and even some of the earliest pictures of Marilyn Monroe. The show at the Bruce Museum has a wide range of work, beautifully displayed.
Although Ed Clark (born in 1911) lived until 2000, he had to stop taking pictures more than 35 years earlier due to failing sight. I never had the privilege of meeting him and telling him that the reason I ultimately became a photographer was largely due to the images and stories he and his colleagues brought to my own small-town doorstep each week when LIFE arrived.