The National Association of Black Journalists announced that the late photojournalist Hugh Grannum will receive the association’s 2014 Legacy Award.

Grannum will be honored at the Salute to Excellence Gala on Aug. 2 during the organization’s 39th Annual Convention and Career Fair in Boston.

Grannum is best known for his for photography work for The Detroit Free Press.

“In his many years as a photographer at the Detroit Free Press, Hugh Grannum blazed a trail for African-American journalists,” association President Bob Butler said in a statement. “His work as a photojournalist helped capture the simple, yet complex, truth of his subjects. He did so, as the young people these days are fond of saying, with ‘no filter.’”

“Mr. Grannum was dogged in his determination to tell good stories with his camera,” Butler added. “His love of his work and his utter devotion to the craft made him an excellent teacher. Over the course of his career, he mentored many would-be photographers, teaching them to think of photography as honest journalism.”

The Brooklyn native started his career as a studio apprentice in New York before becoming a freelancer. In 1970, was hired as a staff photographer at the Detroit Free Press, where he worked for 37 years.

Former Detroit mayor Dennis Archer praised Grannum’s work at the time of his death.

“He had a remarkable eye behind the camera,” Archer told the Free Press. “He captured people at their best. And he had a way of establishing rapport quickly and easily with people that made you respect the work that he had to do. It was because of Hugh that I started looking under photographs in the paper to see who had taken the picture.”

Grannum’s work has been honored on a national level, including features in Black Enterprise, Ebony, Essence, Forbes and Jet magazines. It has also been displayed at The Studio Museum of Harlem, the Toronto Art Gallery, DuSable Museum of African American History and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Grannum, 72, died on Jan. 11, 2013 at the Harper Hospital in Detroit of leukemia and complications from a kidney transplant in 2010.


Courtney Jacobs

AFRO Staff Writer