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 

530 kb

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
 Photo Album   (More...

  The Grapes of Wrath, photographer: Horace Bristol
Aug 4, 1997

Last Updated:
Dec 8, 2011

Life Photojournalist Horace Bristol, 88.

OJAI, Calif. -- Horace Bristol, a photojournalist whose work graced the covers of Life magazine and helped inspire John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath," has died (4 August 1997). He was 88.

Mr. Bristol died Monday after a bout with colon cancer, his family said.

His photographs appeared on the cover of Life at least five times, but he may be best known for a story that never made it to the magazine's cover.

In 1938, he suggested to Steinbeck that they photograph and interview families living in migrant camps of California's Central Valley. Their work became fodder for the author's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

Mr. Bristol's pictures appeared in Life after the novel's publication and were used to help cast the 1940 film starring Henry Fonda.

"Horace Bristol was one of the most important photographers of his generation," famed Life photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt once said. "His photographs must be seen and remembered."

In a photography career that spanned the early 1930s to the mid-1950s, his images captured scenes of everyday beauty and uncommon events.

During World War II, Mr. Bristol joined Edward Steichen's renowned U.S. Naval Photographic Unit. One of his pictures, "PBY Gunner," showed a naked aviator who leaped from a seaplane to rescue a blinded Marine from the Pacific Ocean, then returned to his post in a gun turret.

His career largely ended in 1956 when his wife committed suicide. He destroyed much of his collection of negatives and prints and gave up photography for a life as a "frustrated architect."

Mr. Bristol re-emerged in the mid-1980s after his son, Henri, innocently asked if he had ever read "The Grapes of Wrath."

"He realized he had completely neglected to share that part of his life with his children when in fact he had . . . interviewed migrant workers with Steinbeck," Henri Bristol said Tuesday.

My Photos From This Event
Horace Bristol - Winfield and his rabbit
Horace Bristol - Tom Joad
Brakeman jumping from boxcar
Nursing mother in a camp near Visalia, Tulare County, California

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