Meetings With Remarkable People. Episode 4: David Douglas DuncanThis is the fourth podcast episode in my series “Meetings With Remarkable People.” Before I even finish posting all of my episodes with the remarkable Colin Wilson, the angry young man of British literature, today I wanted to leap ahead into January 2013 and put up today this interview I did with David Douglas Duncan. It felt urgent to me because today, 23 January 2023 marks what would have been the 107th birthday of David Douglas Duncan, one of the greatest of the 20th century war photographers, and a friend and photographer of Pablo Picasso. It just seemed I could not miss this anniversary, as it was also precisely 10 years ago this month that I conducted the interview with him. While I may have feared meeting this new friend too late in our lives, he went on to live for another five and a half years, dying only in June 2018 at the age of 102
And what a life this man – often referred to as DDD – had! From his very first published photograph in the 1930s when he was just a teenager and caught a shot of a man running in and out of a burning hotel in Kansas City that turned out to be the infamous gangster John Dillinger to his first ever photo of Picasso … in his bathtub! He had a blessed life, and one that traversed almost every major historical moment of the second half of the 20th century.I was fortunate to meet him through my Formula One writing, as Duncan also had a love of cars and racing and I learned through a friend of his who was a Formula One photographer that he wanted to contact me about one of my articles on the series. I went to his place in the south of France for lunch one day and then asked if I could conduct an interview with him for a future column I planned about meetings with remarkable people who were also Formula One racing fans! He agreed and I left his home that afternoon with this extraordinary recording of his life in history.
Part 5 of the podcasts will probably return to Colin Wilson But I could not miss David Douglas Duncan’s birthday, and the 10th anniversary month of this recording!