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March 22, 2007

OBITUARY: Monte Zucker, 1929-2007

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In memory of Monte Zucker (1929-2007): innovator, teacher and champion of professional photography

By Jeff Kent

The photography world has lost a novel talent and a tireless spirit. After a tough battle with pancreatic cancer, Monte Zucker, M.Photog.Cr., Hon.M.Photog., API, F-ASP, passed away on March 15, 2007. Zucker will be forever remembered for his impeccable portrait and wedding images, his zeal for helping other photographers, and his determination to conduct his life his way.

Over the course of his 50-plus year career, Zucker was one of professional photography’s most accomplished innovators. Among other achievements, he is widely credited with pioneering classic portraiture techniques on location at weddings. Back in the 1960s, when other wedding photographers were snapping flat, static portraits at weddings, Zucker decided to bring studio-quality portraiture to his wedding jobs. The resulting images revolutionized wedding photography. Every portrait was well composed, well lit and well exposed. Clients loved the style, and soon Zucker was one of the East Coast’s most sought-after photographers.

One of Zucker’s favorite comments was, “I don’t photograph the world as it is; I photograph the world as I would like it to be.” This statement is both figurative and literal. Zucker’s primary goal was to create beautiful memories with his images. He concentrated on faces and feelings, making idealized versions of real life that his clients would treasure long after the true moments had faded. Zucker also wanted to use his photography as a celebration of all that is good in life. Through his images, he wanted to express how lucky we are to be living in a wonderfully diverse and interesting world.

In his final days, Zucker remained engaged with the industry he loved so much for so long. He attended Imaging USA in January 2007, only a few weeks before his final passing. Every day, he would give all the strength he had to sit and talk with his fellow image makers. For Zucker, there would be no other way to do it. Toward the end of the convention, he graciously took time to give one last interview for this magazine. When asked about his legacy, he was pensive and emotional. “All I’ve ever wanted to do is give people an appreciation of the things that surround us every day, the things we take for granted,” he said after some thought. “If I’ve accomplished that to any degree, then I feel that I have contributed something that is worth while.”

Monte Zucker’s name and legacy will live on in the form of his charitable organization, the Zucker Institute for Photographic Inspiration. Launched by Zucker before his passing, the Institute is dedicated to helping at-risk youth get engaged with photography as a means for inspiring a better life, and possibly a career. For more information, visit www.montezucker.com and follow links to information on the Institute.

December 19, 2006

Obituary: Bruce Fraser, 1954-2006

By Ellis Vener

A universally respected and liked man, author and digital imaging expert Bruce Fraser's greatest contributions were perhaps behind the scenes as a consultant for companies like Adobe, Apple, Epson, GretagMacbeth, HP, Eastman Kodak, and X-Rite among others. Fraser died at home in the company of his wife and friends on December 16, 2006. He had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer earlier this year.

Fraser's work went to the very heart of what we do as photographers, and his was a defining voice in the evolution of Photoshop. He was able to address an abstruse, technical subject and explain it in a way that was both powerful and practical to use. As a lecturer and writer, Fraser directly influenced many photographers with the "Real World Adobe Photoshop" series (co-authored with David Blatner) and "Real World Color Management" (co-authored with Chris Murphy and Fred Bunting) books, and most recently "Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop CS2."

He lectured frequently and was a founding member of PixelGenius, LLC, where he designed the PhotoKit Expert Sharpener plug-in toolset and other PhotoKit products. Additionally, he was an associate editor at Macworld magazine and wrote the "Out of Gamut" column for CreativePro.com. In the field of photography he was a tireless advocate for use of the ProPhoto work space and 16-bit per channel capture and processing. He believed that photographers should be able to have the full resources a camera, software and printers are capable of producing.

"Bruce was a remarkable person," said photographer Greg Gorman. "He was a very generous spirit. He just just opened his heart to me. He was always kind, always there for me, and had a unique ability to make things more clear for me than anyone else could. You could not ask for a better teacher and he leaves a big hole that will never be filled."

"Bruce was absolutely instrumental in defining the color management UI (User Interface) and workflow in Photoshop 6," stated Mark Hamburg, former Adobe Photoshop engineer and current Adobe Lightroom engineering architect. "On a vast number of issues on both Photoshop and Lightroom, Bruce was either my primary source of advice or one of my primary sources. Bruce had a wonderful balance between understanding the technical issues and understanding the user perspective all wrapped up in a great sense of both humility and humor."

Friend and PixelGenius business partner Jeff Schewe affirms that Fraser was never one to boast of his own accomplishments, and that "he worked tirelessly behind the scenes with companies to ensure that technology was implemented in a manner that real-world users could actually use."

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March 8, 2006

Obituary: Gordon Parks, 93

Photographer, filmmaker, composer and writer Gordon Parks died at his home in Manhattan on March 7.  He was 93.

200603bc_gordonparksParks' work as the first African-American staff photographer for Life magazine brought his photography to the world, but he expressed his vision in many ways, writing novels, poetry, memoirs, music and screenplays.

Among his countless awards and accolades, Professional Photographers of America presented Parks with the PPA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. He is shown here receiving the award from PPA's current President-elect Jack Reznicki. 

"Gordon Parks was always an inspiration to me since high school when I read his autobiography, 'The Learning Tree.' To me it's a must-read for any photography student or any student of our American history and the American experience," said Reznicki.

Continue reading "Obituary: Gordon Parks, 93" »

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