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Retired Iowa Photographer Behind Iconic Princess Diana Funeral Photos

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WINTERSET, Iowa  --  Although his name may sound like it, John Gaps III is far from anything royal.

The Winterset resident is a war photojournalist by trade, and in September of 1997 the Associated Press called on him to cover Princess Diana’s funeral. It was one of only a handful of other major events Gaps covered that was not war-related, and he was willing to take any risks necessary.

Gaps camped out for days in a spot where no other photographers were stationed, and captured pictures the world now associates with the moments the people's princess was laid to rest.

“I had this gigantic lens. I looked over top of the camera, and William looked up at me. And we had a moment where he just kind of pursed his lips and looked at me, and that ended up on the cover of People Magazine," said Gaps.

From People Magazine to the covers of national and international newspapers, Gaps delicately captured the day’s emotion from a different angle.

“Through the Diana funeral, it really was that moment where I achieved some intimacy where there was none,” he said.

Gaps said it was this risk--not his photography skills--that make his photos stand out, and it's one he's proud he took.

“It’s interesting, because then you become aware of the fact that the work you did is going to outlive you. And that's something.”

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