Gordon Ward Gahan Collection

Chronology

1945: Born on November 5 at Sloane Hospital in New York City to Alice M. Ward and Edmund Gahan.


1959–63: Attends Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, where he serves on the photographic boards of the Exonian, the school newspaper, and the Pean, the school yearbook.


1963–64: Attends Columbia University, where he is the picture editor of the campus daily newspaper.


1964: Leaves Columbia after his freshman year and begins working as a photographer for United Press International (UPI) in New York.


1965: Transferred to UPI’s Minneapolis bureau, where he becomes the youngest bureau chief in company history.


1966: Inducted into the US Army and ordered to report to Fort Benning, Georgia, for basic training; continues working for UPI out of the Minneapolis bureau; has photo story on flooding in the Midwest exhibited at The Hague as an entry in the World Press Photo competition.


1967: Arrives in Vietnam for a one-year tour of duty with the US Army; photographs army activities throughout South Vietnam, including “border battles” in fall 1967 and the aftermath of the Tet Offensive in spring 1968; receives Bronze Star with First Oak Leaf Cluster for actions during border battles and exemplary performance for the entirety of his tour, and Purple Heart for wound sustained in February 1968.


1968: Returns from Vietnam in June; begins working as a contract photographer for the National Geographic Society.


1969: Awarded First Place, Magazine Feature, in National Press Photographers Association and University of Missouri School of Journalism Picture of the Year competition.


1970: Awarded Honorable Mention, Portrait and Personality, in National Press Photographers Association and University of Missouri School of Journalism Picture of the Year competition.


1972: Becomes a staff photographer at National Geographic; invited to White House to meet President Richard Nixon, whom he presents with a photograph from the story “Captain Cook: The Man Who Mapped the Pacific,” published in the September 1971 issue of National Geographic.


1982: Leaves National Geographic to become cofounder, with Martin Rogers and Howie Shneyer, of Prism Photography, an independent agency specializing in advertising photography.


1984: Dies on October 19 in the Virgin Islands, in a helicopter crash, while taking photographs for a client.