Michael Evans (photographer)

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Michael Evans
Evans in 1981
Chief Official White House Photographer
In office
PresidentRonald Reagan
Preceded byDavid Hume Kennerly (1977)
Succeeded byDavid Valdez (1989)
Personal details
Michael Arthur Worden Evans

(1944-06-21)June 21, 1944
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
DiedDecember 1, 2005(2005-12-01) (aged 61)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Linda Forde
(m. 1967; div. 1975)

Story Shem
(m. 1983)

Michael Arthur Worden Evans (June 21, 1944 – December 1, 2005) was an American newspaper, magazine, and presidential photographer. He was Ronald Reagan's personal photographer during his first term as president from 1981 through 1985.[1] Evans is best remembered for his 1976 iconic photo of Ronald Reagan wearing a cowboy hat taken while Evans was working for Equus Magazine, that made the covers of many magazines in the week after Reagan's death in 2004. He was nominated for Pulitzer Prize while shooting for The New York Times.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Evans was the son of a Canadian diplomat, Arthur Worden Evans, and a registered nurse, Audrey Evans, née Grant-Dalton. Evans lived in Havana, Cuba, and Cape Town, South Africa, in his youth. He attended Trinity College School in Port Hope Ontario Canada where he was the photo editor of the TCS Record in 1962. His first job at the age of 15 was at the Port Hope Evening Guide in Ontario, Canada; After TCS he attended Queen's University in Kingston Ontario where he was the photo editor of the Queen's Tricolor year book in 1964 and was the Editor in 1965. He then worked as a photographer for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio, The New York Times and Time magazine.[3]

Evans' photo of Ronald Reagan, 1976

He began shooting Reagan as a photographer for Time, when Reagan first ran for the Republican nomination for president. Evans continued to document his political career, moving to Washington, D.C., in 1980 as the White House Photographer for four years.

Evans meeting Reagan in the Oval Office, 1981

In 1982 he founded The Portrait Project, a nonprofit designed to photograph powerful people in Washington. Evans' portraits of 595 Washington personalities became a 1985 exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and a 1986 book People and Power: Portraits From the Federal Village.

After he left his job at the White House, Evans returned to Time as a contract photographer for several years. Evans later became the photographer editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, creating computer software for digital cataloguing systems.[4]

Evans was a lifetime National Press Photographers Association Member and worked as the chief technical officer for ZUMA Press. Some notable photos by Evans include Nancy Reagan peering around the press room door with a birthday cake as a surprise for her husband, including images of the Reagan assassination attempt by John Hinckley Jr.[5]

Michael Evans married Linda Forde in 1967; they had three children and divorced in 1975. He later married Story Shem in 1983, a former Carter administration aide and founding partner of Arrive, a Washington communications firm. They had two children. He had one additional child prior to both of his marriages.

Evans died of cancer at his home in Atlanta, Georgia.[5]


  1. ^ Martin, Douglas (December 2, 2005). Michael Evans, Photographer Of Ronald Reagan, Dies at 61. New York Times.
  2. ^ Rourke, Mary (December 3, 2005). Michael Evans, 61; His Photographs Chronicled Reagan's First Term. Los Angeles Times.
  3. ^ McKiernan, Scott (January 2006). Tribute to Michael A. W. Evans. Archived June 16, 2007, at archive.today The Digital Journalist.
  4. ^ Pierce, Bill (January 2006). Nuts & Bolts: Michael Evans. Archived October 1, 2006, at the Wayback Machine The Digital Journalist.
  5. ^ a b Peter Junker (December 1, 2005). "NPPA Life Member Michael Evans, 61, Dies In Atlanta". National Press Photographers Association. Archived from the original on February 6, 2012. Retrieved July 31, 2017. Michael A. W. Evans, a noted newspaper, magazine, and White House photojournalist and early developer of software systems for cataloging photography collections, died on December 1, 2005, at his home in Atlanta.

External links[edit]