July 5, 1936 – December 8, 1981
Photography is an art. Photojournalism is art with generous amounts of intelligence, guts, sensitivity, dedication, compassion, mother wit, patience, stick-to-itiveness, technical skill, oomph, and much more mixed in. To understand John Tweedle, one has to realize that he had all these ingredients and more.
John Tweedle was born and raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He left Hot Springs when he was 19 years old and went to Pasadena, CA. He enrolled in Pasadena Junior College and as soon as he arrived and joined the band where he played the bass in the Rose Bowl Parade!! While there, he also learned to play the Double Bass. Two years later (1957), John came to Chicago and became a freelance photographer for the Chicago Defender, Jet Magazine, and Ebony Magazine. By 1965, Tweedle was working for the Chicago Daily News and won a number of awards for his front page-photo coverage of the murder of seven nurses. On the day when Dr. King was murdered, Tweedle was being honored as the first Black on a major Chicago newspaper.
A photojournalist must be in tune with life; Tweedle was in tune with the spirit of life itself. He was a visual communicator who tapped the intrinsic values of life; he was a visual historian.
Tweedle was deeply aware of visual impact. His great eye, excellent skills, endless energy, and his ability to see and feel the whole scene enabled him to capture many angles of an event. He was a master of the technical. He enjoyed life’s entire studio.
Tweedle’s camera was his passport to history. He truly lived the spirit of photojournalism. He understood lights and light, people and nature. He used his gift of sharing and giving something extra to life. He believed that where excellence is a daily habit, vision grows and his camera became an extension of his eye, heart and body.
John married Dianne (nee Brewington) Tweedle in 1965. They were married until his untimely death on December 8, 1981. Both Diane and their daughter, Miisha, are dedicated to having John’s “visual impressions of life” live on as an inspiration to others, first by publishing a book of his historical award winning photos and second, by creating, maintaining and promoting the John Tweedle Foundation. To quote his famous last words, “Just keep on keeping on…”, John Tweedle’s visual impressions do just that.
Excerpts taken from:
John H. White – 1982 Pulitzer Prize winner
Chicago Sun-Times Photographer