His most famous picture was almost never credited to him. Joe O’Donnell was a White House photographer during the Kennedy years, and he snapped the enduring images of John Kennedy Junior saluting as his father’s casket passed during the emotional state funeral in 1963. The photo was widely though anonymously distributed. As a young military photographer, he also photographed the effects of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those images later caused a great deal of controversy.
This post in its original form contained several factual errors about photos credited to O’Donnell. See our update here, or the investigation at the Digital Journalist that casts serious doubts about O’Donnell’s life story as it was originally reported in this New York Times obituary.