Ken Heyman, a photographer that’s worked with cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, shot commissions for Life magazine, and collaborated with President Lyndon B. Johnson, died on December 10th in Manhattan at 89 years old. He died at his home of a heart ailment, as reported by his daughter, Jennifer McCarthy.
Described as a “photographer of relationships,” Heyman’s first assignment with Mead was on a trip to Bali in 1957. A reviewer for the New York Times said their partnership “should make anthropology palatable for many who might never be inclined to pick up a book on the subject.” Heyman would go on to work with President Johnson to illustrate his “Great Society,” whose goal was to eliminate poverty and racial injustice in 1964 and 1965.
Heyman had practically no formal photography training. He said: “The summer between my junior and senior year at Columbia [University], I took a class at an art institute in the city. I was kicked out because they thought I wasn’t serious enough.” He considered his professional experience to be his “training ground.” He would ultimately have collaborated with notable people in history like Andy Warhol, Ernest Hemingway, President Lyndon B. Johnson, and President John F. Kennedy.
Ken is survived by his wife, five children, two stepdaughters, and 16 grandchildren.
Find more of Ken Heyman's work online here.
Photo via National Archives at College Park, public domain.