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Gordon Ward Gahan Collection



Gordon Ward Gahan (1945–1984) began taking photographs as a teenager at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, where he was a member of the photographic boards of the Pean, the school yearbook, and the Exonian, the school newspaper. After graduating from Phillips Exeter in 1963 he enrolled at Columbia University, but left after his freshman year to pursue photojournalism full time. This was the beginning of a twenty-year career as a professional photographer that would send Gahan around the world taking pictures for United Press International (UPI), the United States Army in Vietnam, and the National Geographic Society. Along the way, he became the youngest bureau chief in UPI history; earned official praise, along with two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart, for his service and heroism in Vietnam; and was both a first-place winner and an honorable-mention recipient in the National Press Photographers Association Picture of the Year competition. In 1982, after more than ten years with National Geographic, Gahan became the cofounder of Prism Photography, an independent agency specializing in advertising photography. Gahan’s life and career were cut short two years later when he was killed in a helicopter accident while taking aerial photographs for a client in the Virgin Islands.

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Objects in Gordon Ward Gahan Collection