Former NatGeo photographer to display photos

Dean Conger’s worldwide images will be in exhibit at Durango Arts Center

University of Wyoming student Dean Conger snapped this photo of New York Governor Thomas Dewey in 1948 at the railroad station in Laramie, Wyo. during the 1948 Presidential campaign. At right, is sophomore Carol Held, who was Miss Wyoming and runner-up for Miss America that year. Conger used a 4x5 Speed Graphic camera and a No. 5 flashbulb for the shot. Enlarge photo

Photo courtesy of Dean Conger

University of Wyoming student Dean Conger snapped this photo of New York Governor Thomas Dewey in 1948 at the railroad station in Laramie, Wyo. during the 1948 Presidential campaign. At right, is sophomore Carol Held, who was Miss Wyoming and runner-up for Miss America that year. Conger used a 4x5 Speed Graphic camera and a No. 5 flashbulb for the shot.

If you haven’t discovered the Fifth Corner Photo Gallery at the Durango Arts Center, add it to your list of resolutions. It’s an easy one to check off.

January is a great time to do it, because former National Geographic photographer Dean Conger is the featured guest artist this month. Fifth Corner owner Kathy Myrick, also an accomplished photographer, has maximized the small space for a surprisingly comprehensive retrospective of Conger’s 40-year career with the magazine. Conger will attend Friday’s opening reception.

Born in 1927 in Casper, Wyo., Conger spent nine years at the Denver Post before joining the National Geographic Society as a staff photographer in 1959. His assignments took him all over Europe, Asia and the United States.

He made more than 30 trips to what was then the Soviet Union, photographing for National Geographic and for the National Geographic book Journey Across Russia.

Named Newspaper Photographer of the Year three times during the 1950s, and Magazine Photographer of the Year in the 1962 Pictures of the Year competition, Conger also received the National Press Photographers Association Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award in 1987 for a lifetime of outstanding work in photojournalism. Wyoming’s Casper College and the University of Wyoming honored him as a distinguished alumnus.

He served as assistant director of National Geographic’s Photography Division, later directing its Audiovisual Services Division. He retired from National Geographic in 1989, and now lives in Durango with his wife, Lee.

ted@durangoherald.com

“I was doing a story on Moscow for NatGeo,” Conger wrote of this photo of a Soviet soldier at the May Day parade in 1964 in Moscow. “As I recall, a group of soldiers had formed just in front of the stand where I had a spot. It was a more relaxed, human moment than the actual parade.” Conger used 35mm Kodachrome film for this photo. Enlarge photo

Photo Courtesy of Dean Conger

“I was doing a story on Moscow for NatGeo,” Conger wrote of this photo of a Soviet soldier at the May Day parade in 1964 in Moscow. “As I recall, a group of soldiers had formed just in front of the stand where I had a spot. It was a more relaxed, human moment than the actual parade.” Conger used 35mm Kodachrome film for this photo.

Dean Conger channeled Grant Wood for these 1985 pictures. “I was doing a story on Ancient Architecture in China for a Geographic book. We were headed down a country road headed for an appointment. The couple was just standing there as we drove by and I shouted for the driver to stop. He backed up and I asked the interpreter to tell them, ‘Don’t move!’ I changed nothing. I gave them a Polaroid and they were delighted. No matter which country I was in, I found it very important to learn the words for ‘stop.’ Many good pictures are just targets of opportunity,” Conger wrote. Enlarge photo

Photo courtesy of Dean Conger

Dean Conger channeled Grant Wood for these 1985 pictures. “I was doing a story on Ancient Architecture in China for a Geographic book. We were headed down a country road headed for an appointment. The couple was just standing there as we drove by and I shouted for the driver to stop. He backed up and I asked the interpreter to tell them, ‘Don’t move!’ I changed nothing. I gave them a Polaroid and they were delighted. No matter which country I was in, I found it very important to learn the words for ‘stop.’ Many good pictures are just targets of opportunity,” Conger wrote.

Dean Conger channeled Grant Wood for these 1985 pictures. “I was doing a story on Ancient Architecture in China for a Geographic book. We were headed down a country road headed for an appointment. The couple was just standing there as we drove by and I shouted for the driver to stop. He backed up and I asked the interpreter to tell them, “Don’t move!” I changed nothing. I gave them a Polaroid and they were delighted. No matter which country I was in I found it very important to learn the words for “stop”. Many good pictures are just targets of opportunity,” Conger wrote. Enlarge photo

Photo courtesy of Dean Conger

Dean Conger channeled Grant Wood for these 1985 pictures. “I was doing a story on Ancient Architecture in China for a Geographic book. We were headed down a country road headed for an appointment. The couple was just standing there as we drove by and I shouted for the driver to stop. He backed up and I asked the interpreter to tell them, “Don’t move!” I changed nothing. I gave them a Polaroid and they were delighted. No matter which country I was in I found it very important to learn the words for “stop”. Many good pictures are just targets of opportunity,” Conger wrote.

This shot of geese at Lake Powell from Dean Conger’s personal collection was taken in 1995 during Conger’s retirement years and is from his personal collection. “The sun was going down and the light was great. The geese must have learned that if they came up to houseboats they just might get something to eat.” Enlarge photo

Photo courtesy of Dean Conger

This shot of geese at Lake Powell from Dean Conger’s personal collection was taken in 1995 during Conger’s retirement years and is from his personal collection. “The sun was going down and the light was great. The geese must have learned that if they came up to houseboats they just might get something to eat.”