Remembering John Gaps III

Kenneth Jarecke
10 min readNov 23, 2022

Gone too soon.

John in 1985 at a Kansas City Royals game (I believe). Kenneth Jarecke / Contact Press Images

John Gaps III passed away on October 17th of this year. He was 63 years old.

John was a photojournalist, a good one to be sure, who was known for taking chances and being outspoken.

If your goal is to make good pictures of people acting naturally and ignoring the camera, there are two ways to get there. You can try to be a fly on the wall and hope to go unnoticed, or you could be loud, and let everyone know you’ve arrived. Maybe knock over a lamp for good measure. The idea being that once the waves settled from the splash you’ve made, the act of making pictures would go relatively ignored.

John loved to make a big splash.

One time, in the hope of getting a better angle on Hillary Clinton, he made one in the reflecting pool outside of the Taj Mahal. He got the angle, fried a couple of cameras and spent a long flight back to the States on her plane in damp clothes.

That’s how John rolled. Anything for the picture, and if a good story came along with it, all the better.

A note from John’s family reads (in part):

“Our father’s death came as a shock to us. His best years behind him, John’s final years saw him struggling deeply with addiction, PTSD, and complicated relationships. Left with few end of life plans



Kenneth Jarecke

I'm a husband, dad, photographer, a writer (sort of), an occasional rancher and the Founder of The Curious Society.