The Grady Franklin digital collection contains the works of photojournalist Grady Franklin from 1979-2009. The collection includes career and freelance work, predominately documenting Western life.
Grady Franklin attended his first Western Film Fair convention in St. Louis, Missouri during 1979. He continued to attend for the next 10 years, except for 1984 when he missed the Raleigh, North Carolina convention.
In addition to the Western Film Fair, he covered other film conventions in Knoxville, Memphis, and Asheville, Tennessee; the Roy Rogers Festival in Portsmouth, Ohio; the Buck Jones Festival in Rochester, New York; and the Tom Mix Festival in DuBois, Pennsylvania. He also covered the Golden Boot ceremonies in Los Angeles, California as well as Cine Indy in Indianapolis.
This digital collection will continue to grow and include many photographs of these conventions dating from 1979-1989. It will also include ephemera ranging from 1979-2009. Use the links provided below to browse the Grady Franklin Western Film Fair convention photographs by year:
Western Film Fair, St. Louis, Missouri, 1979
Western Film Fair, Charlotte, North Carolina, 1980
Western Film Fair, Charlotte, North Carolina, 1981
Grady Franklin was born in Upper East Tennessee in 1929. During his youth, he had little interest in his father's portrait photography but enjoyed typing class in high school and working part-time as a theater usher. In 1948, he enlisted in the Army serving nearly four years during the Korean Conflict. After the war ended, he enrolled at the University of Tennessee and studied journalism. While at the University of Tennessee, he was a part-time reporter for The Knoxville Journal and later with the Associated Press in Knoxville. In 1958, the Associated Press transferred him to its bureau in Detroit, Michigan. His assignment was short-lived and he sought out a grassroots journalism position with The Journal-Review in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
Freelance opportunities were abundant in the surrounding areas of Crawfordsville. Franklin had several clients including the Associated Press, UPI, The Indianapolis Star, The Indianapolis News, The Indianapolis Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, and The National Observer.
Franklin left Crawfordsville and turned to the Public Relations Department of Western Electric for eight years. Photography was his primary interest, yet he also took on the duties of writer, editor and general public relations practitioner.
His freelance career began in 1974 and lasted just under 30 years. In 1980, he created a newsletter about Western movies of the 1930s and 1940s. As writer, editor, and publisher of The Western Film, he covered film conventions in various cities for about 12 years. His newsletter opened doors making it possible to produce articles and photographs for publications such as Classic Images, the Big Reel, Under Western Skies, Serial World, and Favorite Westerns.
After living and working in Indianapolis, Indiana for 40 years, Franklin retired in 2007. He continues to document community projects through his photography.
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