Arizona Public Radio | Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

John Running, Photographer of the Colorado Plateau, Dies at 78

Courtesy of the John Running Collection, Cline Library, Northern Arizona University

World-renowned Flagstaff photographer John Running has died at age 78. Throughout his five-decade career he captured lavish images of the Colorado Plateau and intimate portraits of its people. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius has more. 

Running died Sunday after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. He was born in 1939 in Buffalo, New York, and learned to develop photographs while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps in the 1960s. Running later moved to Flagstaff where he received an anthropology degree from Northern Arizona University.

He shot grandiose photos of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River, and used his lens to tell stories of Native Americans, and many other local residents.

Running traveled the world on assignment for corporate clients and magazines, and his work appeared on the covers of Harper’s and Outside. He mentored a generation of younger artists and helped make Flagstaff a photographic hub in the region.

He’s survived by his son John Paul, daughter Raechel, and wife Shelley Claude.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
Related Content