War Stories: Red Grandy, Cold War Photographer

Red Grandy, Cold War Photographer

In 1943, Russell native Francis "Red" Grandy left home after high school to serve in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After a couple of years, he enrolled as a cinema student at the University of Southern California and graduated in 1950. For a few months he traveled through Europe with a friend and then took a job as a still photographer with Stars and Stripes, the daily newspaper for military personnel abroad. Within four months, he had the rare opportunity to take the picture of a lifetime, a shot of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower receiving the news that his old rival, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, had been relieved of his command by President Truman. That picture was later published by the news services, major newspapers and magazines, and would be selected as "news photo of the year" by several prestigious organizations. An exciting and distinguished career that would span 35 years in Europe as chief photographer for Stars and Stripes was begun and Grandy would be assigned to cover most of the major events of the Cold War in pursuit of the perfect photograph.

Grandy and his photographs give dramatic testimony to the military and political activities of that era, as well as glimpses of local life in many countries and the visits of celebrities to military bases and European capitals. As the small selection for this exhibition attests, his subjects ranged from Khruschev to French orphans, from bullfights to unexploded napalm bombs, from presidents to starlets to Muhammed Ali.

Red maintains that every photograph has a story behind it and he is fond of telling each of them with rich detail. This exhibition not only illustrates his extraordinary photographic skills but tells some of the stories that this veteran of life among our nation's military service personnel can tell better than almost anyone.

In the late 1980s, Red returned to the Hermon area, to take over the family business of Lazy River Playground and to spend time with his brother Lloyd and other members of his family. He maintains contact with colleagues and old friends from his days with Stars and Stripes. A personal goal of his is to have the 45,000 plus negatives of photographs taken by photographers for the newspaper be preserved in an appropriate repository.

Visit the Stars and Stripes website.

War Stories: Red Grandy, Cold War Photographer