Dirck Halstead, Photojournalist Who Captured History, Dies at 85

Mr. Halstead placed his archive at the Briscoe Center for American History in Austin, Texas.

“Dirck Halstead was one of the great news photographers of his generation,” the center’s executive director, Don Carleton, said by email. “His body of work will be a source of important historical information far into the future.”

Dirck Storm Halstead was born on Dec. 24, 1936, in Huntington, N.Y., on Long Island. His mother, Leslie (Munro) Halstead, was an advertising executive, and his father, William, was a telecommunications engineer who held a number of patents for radio and television equipment.

At 15, when the family was living in Westchester County, N.Y., his parents gave him a Kodak Duaflex camera for Christmas.

“The thing that made the difference was they gave me a little darkroom outfit with it, which allowed you to make contact prints,” he said in an oral history recorded in 2010 for the Binghamton University Libraries. “And that was the thing that got me hooked.”

He began bringing the camera to class and was soon the high school’s de facto official photographer.

“By the time I was in my senior year in high school I was working on a part-time basis for a local newspaper” and getting $5 per picture, he said. At about the same time, that newspaper’s owner, Carll Tucker Jr., began acquiring other papers in the area.

“All of a sudden I was shooting for seven newspapers,” Mr. Halstead said, “and I was the only photographer, so that $5 per picture started to multiply.”