JOHN "JACK" TITCHEN / 1921-2006
STAR-BULLETIN / 2005
A collection of John "Jack" Titchen's 1967 photos of Duke Kahanamoku were displayed at Duke's restaurant at the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel.
Former photographer had unique view of the world
John "Jack" Titchen captured Hawaii history on film during his 25 years as a Star-Bulletin photographer.
His coverage of international celebrities, erupting volcanos, disasters and sports contests produced photographs that appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world and won him several professional awards.
Titchen, 84, died Friday in Kaiser Medical Center at Moanalua.
"He was an enterprise shooter ... with a different view of the world around him," said Dean Sensui, former Star-Bulletin photographer. Once faced with the static shot of an official entourage, Titchen ducked into a restroom on the heels of former South Vietnamese leader Nguyen Cao Ky to capture the government leader combing his hair before his public appearance. The picture ran in papers around the world.
"He had this offbeat sense of humor ... and an elfish smile," Sensui said. He said Titchen worked during a time before super security put the media behind barricades. His slight stature and persistent but not pushy demeanor got him close enough to shake hands with celebrities he photographed, including every president from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, and an array of show business and sports stars.
Titchen retired from the newspaper in 1984 and continued to work as a freelance photographer for other publications until recently. His 1967 photos of Duke Kahanamoku were displayed last year at Duke's restaurant in the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel.
A retrospective show of his art appeared at Pictures Plus in Kahala Mall in March 2003.
"He wanted us to remember all the history," said Gail Morohoshi of King Photo Service, who recalled the photographer as a storyteller with anecdotes about many photos he took. "We have so many good memories of him walking into our place."
Her husband, Take, said the only picture he has on the wall at the Honolulu shop shows the 1960 Kilauea volcano eruption at Kapoho, a Titchen shot that has been reproduced many times.
Titchen was born in Sydney. He served in the Australian Merchant Marine and U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. He graduated from the Los Angeles Art Center School and worked on newspapers in New York state and New England.
After retirement, he did freelance photography in Australia for three years. In recent years he was active in the AARP.
He is survived by wife Katharine; son John; daughters Denise Carpenter, Leilani Studenka, Carol Yee and Kanani Titchen; sister Margaret Titchen; six grandchildren and three great- grandchildren.