spacer Hemingway with downed leopard Hemingway had by the early 1950s become a celebrity of the first rank. As one Hemingway student has put it: "He once made news because of what he did; now he made news because of who he was." One indication of the truth of that statement was Look magazine's offer in 1953 to defray $15,000 of the expenses for Hemingway's forthcoming African safari if it could send a photographer along. For 3,500 words from Hemingway to run with the resulting pictures, it threw in $10,000 more. The deal was hard to refuse. When Hemingway's safari set out on September 1, 1953, Look's photographer Earl Theisen was on hand to record it.

One of the finest pictures to come out of the expedition is this image showing Hemingway with a downed leopard. The problem was, however, that it was not quite clear whose bullet had actually killed this leopard--Hemingway's or that of one of his hunting companions--and Mary Hemingway was adamant that it not run in Look unless her husband bagged another leopard that he could unambiguously call his own. Much to the benefit of Look's picture spread, he did.

Hemingway on his second African safari, 1953-1954
Earl Theisen (1903-1973) / Gelatin silver print, 1953
Image courtesy Ernest Hemingway Collection, John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts
Copyright 1998 Earl Theisen Archives


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Ernest Hemingway at desk