Ghanem Maroon (Father of Fred) left his village of Jouwwar el Joz, Lebanon in 1910, and headed for the New Jersey United States. Ghanem Maroon began his life in the States as a traveling salesman and later opened his own clothing shop. He married Sophie Boueri, also Lebanese and whose family came from the village of Mount Lebanon Bouar. Their only son Fred was born in 1924.
Fred Maroon was born in New Brunswick, N.J. After three years in the Navy during World War II, he attended the Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C., receiving a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1950. He completed his studies with one year of graduate work at the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1996 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Humane Letters) from Catholic University.
After graduation Maroon worked for Life magazine in New York, and became a stringer in their Paris bureau while doing his graduate studies. Following that he practiced architecture for two and a half years. In 1953 Edward Steichen selected a number of his photographs to include in the exhibition "Always the Young Strangers," at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Inspired by this, in 1954 Mr. Maroon became a freelance photographer. During his career Fred Maroon had scores of photographic features in most major national and international magazines, including National Geographic, Smithsonian, Paris Match, Town and Country, Travel and Leisure, Esquire, Life, Look, and Holiday.
Fred Maroon was the recipient of Gold Medal awards from the Art Directors' Clubs of Metropolitan Washington and New York. His work was exhibited throughout America and abroad, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, in New York, and the National Gallery of Art and the Library of Congress, in Washington DC. He had one-man exhibitions at the Corcoran Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Capitol in Washington DC. In June 1995 he had an exhibition, "Politics and Poetry," at the Leica Gallery in New York. A posthumous exhibition, "Sorrow and Splendor: Images of Europe, 1950 - 1951," was held at the Kathleen Ewing Gallery in Washington, DC in 2002. His photographs have been exhibited in major national museums as part of the "Photography in the Fine Arts" exhibitions, which are now in the permanent collection of the International Center of Photography in New York. Among his many honors were four First Prize awards in the annual White House News Photographers' Association competitions.
Fred Maroon lectured extensively throughout the United States and abroad. In 1986 and 1990 he exhibited and lectured at Photokina in Cologne, Germany, and in October 1986 he lectured as part of the National Geographic Society's "Masters of Photography" series. In 1990 Maroon was part of the Smithsonian Institution's "Masters of Photography" series.
Art and press photographer Fred Maroon was the official photographer of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and accompanied Richard Nixon during his election campaign for the Presidency. His photographs have been shown in galleries and museums across the United States and his most famous exhibition, based on his book The Nixon Years, was held at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
During Lyndon Johnson's presidency, he was a regular contributor to American magazine articles on the White House and averaged over a hundred photographs published each year. President Richard Nixon was much less interested in courting the media than his predecessors had been and articles on the White House were few and far between. But Herb Klein, the president's director of communications, suggested producing a book with the author Allen Drury on the Nixon presidency, its protagonists and work practices. Fred agreed to the project on condition that the White House would have no control over the content and photographs, and the book appeared in 1971.
In 1972, he was given the authorization to photograph Nixon's re-election. He offered the photographs to Life and they were published in a four-page spread. He started his shoot barely a week after Watergate broke and, as no-one thought to stop him; he was able to record the whole story, including Nixon's resignation on the 8th August 1974. His photographs appeared in all the American press.
A year after Nixon's resignation, a showing of his photographs during a conference at the University of Philadelphia, elicited such a violent reaction from students that Maroon decided to hide his 576 rolls of negatives. The only resurfaced some twenty years later with the publication in 1999 of the Nixon Years 1969-1974; White House to Watergate (text by Tom Wicker), a book he dedicated to his four children. The photographs were exhibited at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History between July and December 1999.
He continued taking photographs at the White House, the last series being of the Clintons' Christmases there, though he never again spent so much time focusing on an individual the way he had done with Nixon.
After Watergate, he took his family on photographic journey across America, capturing the natural beauty of the country. The result of this trip was These United States, published in 1975 with text by Hugh Sidey.
Maroon always saw his Nixon project as being the most important of his professional life and remained grateful to the disgraced president for having allowed him access to the White House and Oval Office for a whole nine months after the scandal broke. In his words, Nixon always had "his eye on History."
Fred Maroon visited Lebanon and his family village of Jouwwar el Joz in 1951 and 1967 and recorded his impressions of the country in a lovely series of photographs. He died in November 2001, having borne photographic witness to a turbulent time in the history of the United States.
Fred Maroon was the author of twelve books. Maroon's last book, The Nixon Years 1969–1974: White House to Watergate, (with Tom Wicker) was published by Abbeville Press in August 1999 - the twenty-fifth anniversary of President Nixon's resignation. A major exhibition of these photographs from the Nixon-Watergate era was shown at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History from July to December, 1999.
At the time of his death Mr. Maroon was working on a book and exhibition featuring photographs taken when he was a student in Europe in 1950-1951.