Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Celebration of a Man

That's me there, arm in arm with my mentor and teacher, Monte Zucker, at a seminar in Seattle last November - I can't adequately describe just how happy this photo makes me - or how grateful I am to friend & photographer James McFarland for taking it for me.

Monte passed away on March 15th, succumbing to cancer diagnosed only 9 months earlier. In his remaining months, he continued to travel the country doing what he loved most, teaching and spreading the gospel of evocative, classical, beautiful portraiture. (You can read more about Monte in this Washington Post article.)

Today, in lieu of a funeral or memorial service per Monte's wishes, friends and colleagues gathered together and shared thoughts and memories of his life. During the event, the Metropolitan Center for the Visual Arts in Maryland dedicated their entire photographic program in Monte's name, a wonderful tribute to an amazing talent and generous teacher.

Monte's work in the last few months of life was to put cameras in the hands of children at risk. Monte felt that by teaching underprivileged children a vocation such as photography it might give each one of them a way out of their situation in their community and inspire them with a means for a better life. Thus he established The Zucker Institue of Photographic Inspiration - ZIPI. For more information about ZIPI, please visit

Since I couldn't be in Maryland today, I just wanted to share my feelings here - I learned so much from Monte - I am not only a better photographer, but a better person for knowing him. Thanks, Coach - I will keep your spirit in my heart and strive to do you proud.