William John Kennedy (Glen Cove, NY 1930 - New York 2021)


William John Kennedy (b. 1930 in Glen Cove, NY, d. 2021, American) is a photographer best known for the series “Before they were famous” stemming from his friendships with artists. In the 1950s, he worked for Clifford Coffin as an assistant and as a studio manager. Subsequently, he became a freelance photographer taking unchoreographed snap shots of artists at rest, at play, or at work. In the 1960s, Kennedy befriended Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana, and set out capturing them with his camera in an authentic way— as ordinary people, before they became household names.

Kennedy studied fine art at Syracuse University School of Visual Arts and Pratt Institute, and subsequently worked as a successful freelance photographer. His work has appeared in publications such as LIFE Magazine and Sports Illustrated. Corporate clients include Avon; GE; IBM; RJR Nabisco; American Express; and Xerox. His photographs are included in the collection of museums such as the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Detroit Institute of Arts; Polk Museum of Art; Boca Raton Museum of Art; Indiana State University; New York University; Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Collection of BNY Mellon.