Celebrating a Life Behind the Lens

A new exhibit in KU’s Stauffer-Flint Hall showcases notable work of award-winning Jayhawk photojournalist Alan Hagman. Hagman was deputy director of photography at the Los Angeles Times when he died unexpectedly in 2019. He was known for his skilled eye, powerful images and ability to tell compelling stories about what was happening around the world.

A third-generation KU graduate, Hagman grew up in Pittsburg, Kan., and arrived on campus in 1982. He was a staff photographer for the University Daily Kansan during college and served as chief photographer for KU’s sports information department in 1986–87. He was selected for a prestigious White House internship in 1986 covering Vice President George H.W. Bush. That led to an internship with the Ventura bureau of the LA Times, which turned into a full-time job. To honor his life and career, his family created the Alan Hagman Journalism Scholarship for KU students interested in visual storytelling.


 

Hagman was a leader in exploring innovative approaches to photojournalism. He received numerous awards including the Robert F. Kennedy Humanitarian Award for International Photography in 2019 for “The Great March of the Return” documenting Gaza/Israel border clashes. Hagman won the award with photographer Marcus Yam and said it was the most meaningful recognition of his career.

Hagman’s devotion to his beloved Jayhawks was unmistakable. Both his home and office were filled with KU memorabilia, and he had a license plate that read “RCJHGKU.” While dedicated to his craft, Hagman made the most of life outside work, too. He was known for his outstanding smoked brisket and bourbon collection; enjoyed traveling for concerts and golf; and had a lifelong interest in “gonzo journalism.” Colleagues and friends described him as “always being the nicest person in the room.”



 

AN EYE FOR STORIES: Celebrated photographer Alan Hagman was known for his ability to capture the moment. Above, KU students head home with their sofa after watching a football game on the Hill, fall 1986.Contributed

“Alan and I were really close,” said Jennifer Hagman, Alan’s sister and 1986 KU School of Medicine alumna. “I was so lucky to have such a talented and fun brother. I think he’d be flattered and grateful for this exhibit.”

The photos can be viewed in person throughout 2022 weekdays 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Jodi Bouyack


Support Storytelling

To make a gift for Jayhawk Journalists or the Alan Hagman Scholarship, visit www.kuendowment.org/journalism or contact Marlys Shulda at 785.832.7352.