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Faith, Focus, Flight: A John H. White Retrospective
© John H. White
© John H. White © John H. White
© John H. White
© John H. White © John H. White

About the Exhibit
Few other journalists are spoken of with the reverence accorded photojournalist John H. White. A photojournalist in Chicago since 1969 for the Chicago Daily News and Chicago Sun-Times, White has been lauded with more than 300 professional awards, most notably the Pulitzer Prize, in 1982, for feature photography.

White has taught photojournalism at Columbia College since 1978. He has lectured at Northwestern University, and for 15 years has been a team leader at the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop in New York State.

Any journalist would justifiably see these accomplishments as validation of their value to society. But John H. White operates on a different plane. A deeply spiritual man, White measures his success in his service to others and to God. Grateful for the gifts he has received, White has mentored thousands of photojournalists who have become devoted followers of his message of perseverance and positive attitude. “Keep in Flight” is his mantra.

When the Chicago Sun-Times in 2013 took the drastic measure of laying off all of its staff photographers in an effort to save money, a universal cry went up in this punch-drunk sector of the journalism community. That White, considered by many a living legend, could be fired was seen as an affront to the profession and a chilling reminder of the perilous state of the industry.

Yet John H. White has not only survived, he has thrived. He continues to earn awards and recognition, including a 2013 Lucie Award for achievement in photojournalism. As a result of the Sun-Times actions, appearances in national media have given White a platform to express his faith in the role of the photojournalist in society. “The photojournalist is that person who sees through a different set of eyes: the eyes of the heart, eyes of history” he said in an interview with National Public Radio.

During his career, White met and befriended luminaries such as Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela. Yet his legacy may be not only the pictures in his portfolio, but his message of love, faith and living example of what a photojournalist can become.


Curated by Michael Zajakowski and Tyra Robertson. Sponsored by the Department of Communication and with generous financial
support of Susan B. Rubnitz.