Maegan Kasteler | Dec 26, 2019

Meet Keynote Speaker David Hume Kennerly! Sponsored by Canon

We are pleased to announce David Kennerly, brought to you by Canon, as our Friday Keynote for RootsTech SLC 2020! Kennerly is a Pulitzer Prize–-winning photojournalist. His work has been featured on over 50 major magazine covers. 

Watch: David Hume Kennerly, Canon Explorers of Light from Fredric King on Vimeo.

His career began in Los Angeles, where, in 1968, he took some of the last photos of Senator Robert Kennedy while declaring victory in the California presidential primary. Moments after leaving the Ambassador Hotel, the senator was assassinated. 

Kennerly arrived on the scene in Washington DC in 1970, just 5 years after graduating high school, and at just 23 took his first flight in Air Force One with President Nixon. He didn't originally stay in DC for long, and he soon left and became a combat photographer for United Press International (UPI) during the Vietnam War.

Prior to heading over to Saigon, Kennerly photographed the Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier II fight in Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971. Ultimately his photos at the fight and in Vietnam won him his Pulitzer Prize in 1972 in the Feature Photography category. You can view his prize-winning pictures here.

The majority of Kennerly's work has been in the political sphere, and he has photographed every sitting president since Richard Nixon. Kennerly was appointed the Chief Official White House Photographer—, only the 3rd civilian to hold the position—, by President Gerald Ford. In the White House, he was granted unprecedented access to meetings and behind the scenes. This led to his book Extraordinary Circumstances: The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford, published in 2007.

Watch: It's Been Real: Ford White House Photographer David Kennerly

Other assignments have led Kennerly around the world to over 130 different countries. SomeOther notable events he photographed include:

  • The meeting of President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva in 1985
  • The visit of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Israel
  • On- the- ground coverage of the horror at Jonestown
  • The 1969 World Series win by the New York Mets
  • Various events surrounding Watergate
  • He was one of three Americans allowed to travel The state visit of Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka to the People's Republic of China. He was one of three Americans allowed to travel there, he to cover the state visit of Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka and he became one of the last westerners to see Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai alive.
  • The official inaugural book of former President Barack Obama
  • THe was a major contributor to the CNN book Unprecedented: The Election that Changed Everything

In 2015 he published a photo essay on Politico, covering 50 years of covering politics as a photojournalist. This essay became one of the most widely viewed stories in the site’s history.

Kennerly has published six6 books and produced multiple films, one for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy.

We are so excited to have David Hume Kennerly joining us for the 10th anniversary of RootsTech. Haven't registered yet? Register today! And don't forget to follow us on social media for other speaker announcements. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


Maegan Kasteler

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