David Hume Kennerly has been a photographer on the front lines of history for almost 60 years. At 25, he was one of the youngest winners of the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism. Kennerly’s 1972 award for Feature Photography included images of the Vietnam and Cambodia wars, refugees escaping from East Pakistan into India, and the Ali v. Frazier “Fight of the Century” World Heavyweight Championship at Madison Square Garden. Kennerly was appointed President Gerald R. Ford’s Personal White House Photographer two years later. Kennerly’s photos have appeared on over 50 major magazine covers, and he has documented history in over a hundred countries. He has photographed eleven American presidents, covered 12 presidential campaigns, served as a contributing editor for Newsweek magazine for ten years, and was a contributing photographer for Time & Life Magazines for more than fifteen. American Photo Magazine named Kennerly “One of the “100 Most Important People in Photography.”
Washingtonian Magazine called Kennerly one of the 50 most important journalists in Washington, DC. In 2016 the Oregon Historical Society presented Kennerly and Nike founder Phil Knight with their Oregon History Makers Award. Kennerly received the Lucie Award honoring the greatest achievement in photojournalism, and that year delivered the commencement speech at Lake Erie College where he received an honorary doctorate.
In 2019, The University of Arizona Center for Creative Photography acquired the David Hume Kennerly Archive, which features almost one million images, prints, objects, memorabilia, correspondence and documents of his dating back to 1957. The Kennerly Archive includes iconic portraits of U.S. presidents, world leaders, celebrities and sports figures. His work joins Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Richard Avedon, W. Eugene Smith, and other legendary photographers. The University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins appointed Kennerly the university’s first Presidential Scholar. Kennerly is on the Board of Trustees of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation and is a Senior Fellow at the USC Center on Communication Leadership and Policy. He has also been photographing for Bank of America for fourteen years.
David Hume Kennerly has had a distinguished career as a photographer. It includes coverage of several wars, eleven U.S. presidents, and dozens of history-making events. Kennerly’s photos have appeared on more than fifty U.S. national magazine covers. He has photographed assignments in over a hundred countries and is an Emmy-nominated film producer. At 25, Kennerly was one of the youngest winners of the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism. His 1972 award for Feature Photography included images of the Vietnam and Cambodia wars, refugees escaping from East Pakistan into India, and the Ali v. Frazier “Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden. At 27, he became chief photographer for the President of the United States. American Photo Magazine named Kennerly “One of the 100 Most Important People in Photography.” Kennerly is still covering history. One of his latest assignments was photographing Rep. Liz Cheney and the January 6th Committee in action in 2023. He is a Canon Legend.
Books, Films and Exhibitions
1995 Photo Op: A Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographer Covers Events That Shaped Our Times
1999 Seinoff: The Final Days of Seinfeld
2002 Photo du Jour: A Picture-a-Day Journey through the First Year of the New Millennium
2007 Extraordinary Circumstances: The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford
2009 Barack Obama: The Official Inaugural Book (producer/photographer)
2014 David Hume Kennerly On the iPhone
2017 Unprecedented: The Election that Changed Everything
2023 Joe Biden: A Presidency for All Americans (producer/photographer)
Films & Documentaries
1986 SHOOTER Exec Producer and Writer, NBC two-hour pilot based on Kennerly's book and Vietnam experience
1986 THE TAKING OF FLIGHT 847, Exec Producer, NBC Movie of the Week, Primetime Emmy nomination for Best Picture
2002 PROFILES FROM THE FRONT LINES, Exec Producer, ABC reality series based on U.S. military war in Afghanistan
2007 PORTRAITS OF A LADY, exec Producer, Neil Leifer film of artists painting Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, shortlisted for Academy Award
2013 THE PRESIDENTS' GATEKEEPERS, Producer, Discover four-hour documentary about White House Chiefs of Staff
2015 THE SPYMASTERS: CIA IN THE CROSSHAIRS, Exec Producer, CBS/Showtime documentary on CIA Directors
1979 Harry Lunn Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1996 Portland Art Museum, retrospective
1996 Cannon Building Rotunda, U.S. Capitol
2000 Visa Pour L'Image, Perpignan
2003 New York Historical Society
2003 Smithsonian Arts & Industry Photo du Jour show
2004 Center for American History, University of Texas
2007 Savannah College of Art and Design, Lacoste, France campus
2010 Frank Gallery, Santa Monica, A 40-year retrospective
2019 Gerald R. Presidential Museum, Extraordinary Circumstances Exhibit