Bristol, Richard, LCDR

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Lieutenant Commander
Last Rating/NEC Group
Staff Corps Officer
Primary Unit
1944-1945, Fleet Public Affairs Center/Fleet Public Affairs Center Pacific (FPACPAC)
Service Years
1942 - 1945
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember Bristol, Richard (Horace), LCDR.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Santa Paula,Calif.
Last Address
Born: Whittier, California
Raised in: Santa Paula
Died: Ojai, Ventura County

Date of Passing
Aug 04, 1997
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin

 Unofficial Badges 

Blue Star

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

LCdr. Richard "Horace" Bristol
WWII Combat Photographer

Richard Horace Bristol: (November 16, 1908– August 4, 1997) was a twentieth century American photographer, best known for his work in Life. His photos appeared in Time, Fortune, Sunset, and National Geographic magazines.

Bristol was born in Whittier
and raised in Santa Paula, California, and attended the Art Center of Los Angeles, originally majoring in architecture. In 1933, he moved to San Francisco to work in commercial photography, and met Ansel Adams, who lived near his studio. Through his friendship with Adams, he met Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, and other artists.

In 1936, Bristol became a part of Life's founding photographers, and in 1938, began to document migrant farmers in California's central valley with John Steinbeck, recording the Great Depression, photographs that would later be called the Grapes of Wrath collection.

In 1941, at the age of 33, Horace Bristol was recruited to the U.S. Naval Aviation Photographic Unit, as one of six photographers under the command of Captain Edward J. Steichen, documenting World War II in places such as South Africa, and Japan. Bristol helped to document the invasions of North Africa, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.

He served as Lt. Commander until the end of World War II.

Following his documentation of World War II, Bristol settled in Tokyo, Japan, selling his photographs to magazines in Europe and the United States, and becoming the Asian correspondent to Fortune.

Fortune magazine sent him to Asia for a two-year assignment and he was stationed in Japan for the next 25 years covering Asia. He published several books, and established the East-West Photo Agency.

Bristol lived in Ojai, California, until his death in 1997 at the age of 89.

Other Comments:
The Aviation Photographic Unit was a military unit unlike any other in World War II. Founded and led by legendary photographer Edward Steichen, the photographers in this unit gave Americans on the home front memorable and dramatic images of the people fighting the Navy's battles in the Pacific theater. Beginning with just half a dozen intrepid shutterbugs and expanding to ten battle-seasoned photographers, the unit covered everything from early aircraft raids to amphibious landings to the surrender in Tokyo Bay. With an estimated 14,000 images in the collection of the National Archives, the work of this talented photographic unit is historically significant not only as a visual record of the war, but also for its influence on generations of postwar photographers. Faces of War is a tribute to the vision of Edward Steichen, as well as the men who served under him, and most importantly to their subjects-the unsung heroes of the U.S. Navy. Steichen's unit included such well-known photographers as:

LCdr. Horace Bristol
Lt. Barrett Gallagher
LCdr. Charles Fenno Jacobs
Lt. Victor Jorgensen
LCdr. Charles Kerlee
LCdr. Dwight S. Long
Lt. Wayne Miller
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  Richard "Horace" Bristol, Class of 1926
Not Specified

Last Updated:
Dec 8, 2011

Santa Paula High School Class of 1926.

"Horace" Bristol was born in Whittier, California and came to Santa Paula at age 8 in 1916 with his parents, Laurence Albert Bristol and his wife Edith McPhee. Horace attended McKevett grade school and Santa Paula High School, but before graduation the family moved to Hollywood, so he received his diploma from Hollywood High School.

Horace's grandfather was Horace Greeley McPhee, the editor of the Santa Paula Chronicle. His cousin Roxanna McPhee had graduated from SPUHS in 1921 as president of her senior class.

Following graduation, Horace went to the University of Southern California and the University of Redlands and Stanford before marrying his high school sweetheart Virginia. After his marriage he traveled by freighter from San Pedro to Hamburg, Germany and spent two years in Hamburg studying architecture. Their son Horace Richard was born in Paris, France, and son Christopher was born in Los Angeles, California.

Following the crash of the stock market, Horace returned to Santa Paula, attended the Art Center School in Hollywood, and supported his family by running a photographic studio in Santa Paula. He then moved to San Francisco and met some equally poor photographers, including Ansel Adams and Edward Weston.

In 1937 he was hired by Life magazine as a staff photographer. It was in this position that he approached John Steinbeck to write a photo essay with him for Life magazine about the migrant workers in the San Joaquin Valley. After six weeks of photographing the plight of the "Okies," Steinbeck backed out of their agreement and decided, instead, to write a novel. This became the prize-winning novel and later the movie called "The Grapes of Wrath."

World War II came along and Edward Steichen invited Horace to become one of the five members of his famed photographic unit in the U.S. Navy where he served as Lt. Commander until the end of World War II. At this point, Fortune magazine sent him to Asia for a two-year assignment and he was stationed in Japan for the next 25 years covering Asia.

While in Japan, one of his little known talents came to life and he built 10 houses in Japan, which he rented. It was here that his wife Virginia died, and where he met and married Masako. They had two children, Akiko and Henri.

In 1976 the family returned to Ventura County and settled in Ojai. Since this time, much of Horace's photography has come to light and he has become quite famous in the photographic field. Much has been written of him, and many exhibits have displayed his photography. One of the latest displays will open at the Ventura County Museum of History & Art on Friday, November 5. Also featured will be the work of Dorothea Lange.

Horace lost his battle with colon cancer August 4, 1997 at his home in Ojai. He has certainly put Ventura County on the map photographically.

My Photos From This Event
LCdr. Horace Bristol
LCdr. Horace Bristol

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