Matthew Heron took photos on February 5, 2020 in a swamp near his home in San Rafael. He died in a glider crash on August 7, 2020 in Lake County. (Photo by Sherry Lovers / Marine Independent Journal)
Matt Heron, a media photographer who vividly photographed the most significant and historic moments from the forefront of the American civil rights movement in the 1960s, crashed and died on August 7 while flying a glider in Northern California.
His wife, Jennings Hull Heron, said Heron was flying his new self-launch glider (he had learned to fly at 70) before it crashed 125 miles northwest of Sacramento into Clear Lake at Lampson Field in Lakeport. He was 89 years old at the time and died at the scene of the accident.
He organized a team of photographers to capture the conflict between white and black protesters during the Great Depression and provide them with legal coverage. Among them was Dorothy Lange, who captured the “Migrant Mother”, a symbolic photograph of the American recession.
Mr Heron, He left Lampson Airport in Lakeport around 2 p.m. Friday, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. His destination was the province of Mendocino.
When he failed to arrive, authorities took his GPS coordinates to Mathews Place, north of the airport. There they found the wreckage glider and his body.
The Sheriff’s Department described the glider model as the LAK-17B FES MINI.
Mr Heron’s photography covered police brutality in Mississippi in the 1960s and the 1965 Civil Rights March from Selma in Alabama to the state capital. His book, The Mississippi Ice, describes the efforts of five photographers to document the secession and uprising in the South.
His other books include The Voyage of Aquarius. It was a voyage to West Africa in 1970 with his wife, Jenin.
Heron’s works have been published in national magazines such as Life, Luke, Newsweek and Smithsonian. Earlier this year, his paintings in the Civil Rights Movement were at the centre of an exhibition at the San Francisco Public Library.
“It simply came to our notice then. I was in the middle of it, ”Heron told The Independent in February.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the glider crash.