Frank Van Riper
Class of 1967
Frank Van Riper is an award-winning documentary and fine art photographer, journalist and author. His photographs are in the permanent collections of the National Museum of American Art and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., as well as in the Portland (Me.) Museum of Art. His 1998 book of photography and essays, “Down East Maine: A World Apart,” was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and won the silver award for photography from the Art Director’s Club of Metropolitan Washington.
He collaborated with his wife and professional partner, Judith Goodman, on “Serenissima: Venice in Winter,” a coffee table collection of black and white photographs and essays that was published in 2008 in the U.S. and Italy.
Van Riper, a native New Yorker, was born in 1946 and raised in the Bronx, where he attended William Howard Taft High School. When he entered City College, he joined the staff of The Campus, but spent so much time with the newspaper instead of going to classes, he had to earn his way back to fully matriculated status by attending summer school for the next several years. In addition, he was the campus correspondent for The New York Herald Tribune and a copyboy at The New York Post. He joined The New York Daily News in June 1967, exactly one week after graduating with a B.A. in English, and was assigned to the Washington bureau, where he was based for the next 20 years. He was a White House correspondent, national political correspondent and news editor. A 1979 Nieman Fellow at Harvard, Van Riper left daily journalism in 1987 to begin a new career in commercial and documentary photography.
Van Riper’s articles have appeared in The New Republic, Rolling Stone, The Saturday Evening Post, Nieman Reports, Lenswork and newspapers across the country. A year after his Nieman Fellowship, he and the late Lars-Erik Nelson won the 1980 Merriman Smith award from the White House Correspondents Association for deadline reporting on the agreement to free the American hostages then held in Iran. In 1983, he wrote a biography of John Glenn, “Glenn: The Astronaut Who Would Be President.”
In 1992, Van Riper was named photography columnist of The Washington Post, where his column, “Talking Photography,” appeared in the Camera Works section of washingtonpost.com and online at talkingphotography.com. “Talking Photography,” a 10-year collection of his columns and other observations about photography, was published in 2002.
A popular teacher and lecturer, Van Riper is on the faculty of PhotoWorks at Glen Echo Park, Md., and has lectured or taught in the Smithsonian Resident Associate Program, the Maine Photographic Workshops, the University of Maine at Machias and other mid-Atlantic colleges and universities. In 2009, he and his wife inaugurated the Lubec Photo Workshops at SummerKeys, a series of small, week-long summer classes in Lubec, Me. In October 2010, they launched their first teaching venture abroad, the Umbria (Italy) Photo Workshops. In January 2013, as a follow-up to their book about Venice, they began holding winter workshops called “Unseen Serenissima: The Venice in Winter Photography Workshops.”