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Howard Bingham (1939 - 2016)

AP Photo / Earl Gibson III

Howard Bingham (1939 - 2016)

Howard Bingham, a longtime personal photographer and friend of Muhammad Ali, died Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, according to The Associated Press. He was 77.

Bingham had been in declining health and had recently undergone two surgeries, sports writer and friend Mohammad Mubarak told The Associated Press.

Bingham was known best for his long tenure as the personal photographer for world-champion boxer Muhammad Ali. For more than 50 years, he followed Ali, photographing his training, fights, meetings with dignitaries and celebrities, as well as more private moments. During that time, he formed a close friendship that lasted until Ali’s death earlier this year. In 1993, he published a photo-memoir, “Muhammad Ali: A Thirty-Year Journey.”


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Born May 29, 1939, in Mississippi, Bingham grew up in Los Angeles. He enrolled at Compton Community College, where he claimed to have failed his first photography course. In 1962, he was working for the Los Angeles Sentinel, a small African-American newspaper, when he was assigned to cover a boxing match featuring the young Cassius Clay. He befriended the boxer and his brother after the fight.

In addition to photographing Ali, Bingham also worked as a freelancer for several notable publications, including Look, Newsweek, Playboy, and Ebony. His camera caught several moments in American history, including the 1967 Detroit riots and the unrest at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

He also photographed the Black Panthers for a planned feature in LIFE magazine. After the article was canceled, Bingham finally published the photos in his 2009 book, “Howard L. Bingham’s Black Panthers 1968.”

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