began his photographic career during WW II aboard the US Carrier Franklin in the South Pacific where he once photographed a Japanese Kamikaze attack on his ship. One day he discovered a copy of Thoreau's essay on Civil Disobedience in the ship's library, and that led to a period of critical self-examination. When his ship docked in San Francisco Massar went AWOL, no longer able to justify military service. He turned himself in, was court-martialed, fined, and eventually reassigned to Bermuda! Back in civilian life, Massar's post-war training as a photojournalist began in the streets of Paris and the cities of a nascent Communist Europe (he often says he became a photographer in order to travel), and continued into the turbulent '60s and beyond. Like the best photojournalists of his time, Massar developed an instinct for the striking graphic image (often ironical) that summed up a situation, a conflict, or a particular triumph. But he was also a master of the quiet moment, the subtle human interaction that only a thoughtful eye would see. A lifelong passion for the writings of Thoreau and the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay led him to publish two books: The Illustrated World of Thoreau
and Take Up the Song
. Both works marry Massar's beautiful images of nature to the words of his favorite writers.
In 1967, convinced that America's war in Vietnam was morally bankrupt, he joined the crew of the yacht Phoneix on a Quaker sailing mission to bring medical supplies to Hanoi. On returning to the United States, the crew held a press conference in Washington to describe their successful voyage, following which government agents seized their passports!
Throughout a long career, Massar's work has appeared regularly in such publications as Life, Look, National Geographic, and Paris Match, to name but a few. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and is part of the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Smithsonian Institution. Only a small selection of his pictures appears on this site (see March on Washington). To view more, please visit www.ivanmassar.com.