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

Jan 8, 2018

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. 

John Running on the Colorado River in 2010
Credit Courtesy of the John Running Collection, Cline Library, Northern Arizona University

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.