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Cecil W. Stoughton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cecil W. Stoughton
White House Photographer, Cecil Stoughton, on the roof of an unidentified building.jpg
Stoughton standing on the roof of an unidentified building in 1962.
Chief Official White House Photographer
In office
PresidentJohn F. Kennedy
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byYoichi Okamoto
Personal details
Cecil William Stoughton

(1920-01-18)January 18, 1920
Oskaloosa, Iowa U.S.
DiedNovember 3, 2008(2008-11-03) (aged 88)
Merritt Island, Florida U.S.

Cecil William Stoughton (January 18, 1920 – November 3, 2008) was an American photographer. He is best known for being President John F. Kennedy's photographer during his White House years.[1]

Stoughton was present at the motorcade at which Kennedy was assassinated and subsequently took the only photograph on board Air Force One of Lyndon B. Johnson being sworn in as the next President.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ How the Official White House Photographer Is Chosen


If you’ve been anywhere on the internet over the past twelve months, you’ll have come across these - photo retrospectives of Barack Obama’s presidency. Many of the shots featured were taken by Pete Souza, the Official White House Photographer. But how do you land that job? Like a number of White House positions, the Official Photographer is an optional one, but most recent Presidents have stuck with the tradition. In fact, many have developed close friendships with their photographers. Obama: I think at this point Pete and I are like an old couple. We sort of know each other and he's like a member of the family. Once in the job, the President’s schedule is the Photographer's schedule. The Official Photographer follows the President to almost every meeting and engagement, documenting each presidential day for posterity JFK was the first US President to work with a full-time photographer, Cecil Stoughton, who became crucial to developing the narrative of Kennedy’s time in office Having trained as an Army photographer, where he once worked under future president Ronald Reagan, Stoughton was assigned to JFK after his inauguration, and took over 8,000 photos of the President during his tenure. He was the only photographer to witness the iconic moment that Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as president after Kennedy’s assassination, where he artfully framed Jackie Kennedy’s bloodstained skirt out of the shot Some presidents are more open with their photographers than others. Richard Nixon, for example, was quite restrictive with official photographer Ollie Atkins. His most famous photo was this one, taken during a secret meeting between the president and Elvis. Today, it is more requested from the US National Archive more so than photographs of the moon landing. Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter is the only president in modern times to have not appointed an official photographer. He did offer the job to Stanley Tretick, who had worked on JFK’s 1960 campaign, but Tretick turned him down, saying "I didn't feel he wanted an intimate, personal photographer around him." As well as being tasked with documenting history, Presidential Photographers need to keep up with technological shifts. For example, Reagan’s first-term photographer, Michael Evans, made the jump to full-time color shots in 1981, while Eric Draper moved from film to digital while working for George W. Bush. Bob McNeely, once described as a ‘wild boy’ by no less than Hunter S Thompson, was Bill Clinton’s official photographer. The two would regularly golf together, and play cards aboard Air Force One. After Clinton’s affair, many of McNeely’s images were subpoenaed. Feeling betrayed and shut out by the investigation, he found it difficult to continue and eventually quit in 1998. Interestingly, though, one of McNeely’s junior photographers would go on to become Hillary Clinton’s official photographer, and would have been given the top job in the White House had Clinton won in 2016. Pete Souza, Obama’s photographer, also worked for President Reagan for a time. It seems that if you’re interested in photographing a president, it helps to know someone who already does. Alternatively, you’ll need to work your way up from the campaign trail into the White House, alongside the candidate. Pete Souza, for example, first photographed Obama in 2004 for the New York Times, and joined his campaign staff in 2007, two full years before his inauguration. A number of photographers have risen alongside President Trump, who has been notoriously picky about how he’s shot. As yet there’s been no word on which one will join him in the White House. Pete Souza, however, has definitively ruled himself out of the running. One thing is for sure - you’ll need a stellar portfolio and a proven track record to get anywhere near the job. Each presidential photographer has had a unique relationship with their subject, differing levels of access and an individual eye for photography, but proven skill is the one thing that ties them all together.


Life and work

Stoughton's iconic photograph of Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office as President following the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Stoughton's iconic photograph of Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office as President following the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
President John F. Kennedy with John-John in 1963.
President John F. Kennedy with John-John in 1963.

Stoughton was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa on January 18, 1920.

During World War II, he was assigned to the First Motion Picture Unit.[2] He was a captain in the United States Army Signal Corps, when he was assigned to the White House Army Signal Agency. Stoughton's behind-the-scene pictures of John and Jacqueline and their children in their public and personal life were pivotal in shaping the public's view of the U.S. first family. He took more than 8,000 pictures of the family spanning the 34-month period beginning with Kennedy's inauguration and ending with his assassination.[3]

Stoughton took the only photograph ever published showing John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe together.[4] Stoughton was present at the motorcade at which Kennedy was assassinated, and was subsequently the only photographer on board Air Force One when Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the next President. Stoughton knew it was "tasteless," but suggested a photograph needed to be made of the "history-making moment ... and I think we should have it."[5] His photograph depicts Johnson raising his hand in oath as he stood between his wife Lady Bird Johnson and a still blood-spattered Jacqueline Kennedy.[6] Stoughton recounted this event and his service as White House photographer during Johnson's first two years in office in an oral history contributed to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.[7][8]

In 2008, Stoughton appeared on the television series Antiques Roadshow as part of the LBJ Centennial where he recounted his story and presented prints of his photographs from his personal collection, including a print of his photograph of Johnson being sworn in that Johnson had signed, and a photograph of Johnson in the Oval Office as he signed the photo of his swearing in.[9] All the items together appraised for $75,000. Two years after his death a large collection of his photographs was sold at auction. It included the picture of Johnson's inauguration, and fetched $151,000.[10]

Stoughton appeared as a contestant on the May 29, 1987 episode of the game show Classic Concentration, on the date that Kennedy would have turned 70 years old.

He died in Merritt Island, Florida,[11][12] and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[13]


  1. ^ Trivedi 2004. See also May 16, 1961 letter from President Kennedy to United States Secretary of the Army Cyrus Vance, commending Captain Stoughton.
  2. ^ Sullivan, Patricia (2008-11-06). "Cecil Stoughton, 88; Kennedy White House Photographer". The Washington Post. Accessed 2012-05-29.
  3. ^ Trask 1988.
  4. ^ Trivedi 2004. "I got a shot of JFK, Bobby [Kennedy], and Marilyn all in the same frame when they were packed in the library with a whole bunch of other guests." See photograph here.
  5. ^ Jones, Chris (September 16, 2013). "The Flight from Dallas". Esquire. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  6. ^ "Lyndon Johnson Signed Photo Depicting Him Taking the Oath of Office Aboard Air Force One - Inscribed to the Photographer of the Iconic Image, Cecil Stoughton". Shapell Manuscript Collection. SMF.
  7. ^ Fox, Margalit (November 6, 2008). "Cecil Stoughton Dies at 88; Documented White House". The New York Times. p. A30.
  8. ^ Transcript, Joe Frantz, Oral History Interview by Cecil Stoughton. Austin, Texas: Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library. 1971.
  9. ^ See Roadshow archive, PBS Online by WGBH Educational Foundation, and Top Finds: John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson Signed Photographs on Antiques Roadshow PBS-channel on YouTube. Stoughton appeared at the Orlando, Florida Roadshow on June 30, 2007; the segment was aired in the episodes Orlando, Hour 3 (#1206) (first aired February 11, 2008) and Politically Collect, Hour 3 (#1219) (first aired November 3, 2008). See also slideshow of photographs and letters from Stoughton's collection.
  10. ^ Collection of John F Kennedy photographs sold at auction, The Daily Telegraph, December 10, 2010.
  11. ^ Pyle, Richard (November 5, 2008). "Photographer who took LBJ's swearing-in photo dies". Associated Press.
  12. ^ Sullivan, Patricia (November 6, 2008). "Cecil Stoughton, 88; Kennedy White House Photographer". The Washington Post. p. B5. In June 2007, Major Stoughton appeared on the public television series "Antiques Road Show" with his photographs. The taped segment was rerun Monday night, during a program on presidential antiques. Maj. Stoughton had died about an hour earlier.
  13. ^ Cecil W. Stoughton (1920-2008) - Find A Grave.


External links

This page was last edited on 27 December 2018, at 15:53
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