In Memoriam; Monte Zucker: Devoted Teacher, Resilient Spirit, And Photographic Legend

Monte Zucker, a dedicated family man, an ebullient spirit, and an icon in the professional photography community, passed away on Thursday evening, March 15, 2007. Monte's passing comes at the end of a long and difficult struggle with pancreatic cancer, during which he was resilient and engaged to the very end. He was 77 years old. Monte's first encounter with Shutterbug was as a seminar speaker and workshop host for the DC Shutterbug Trade Show in August of 1991. He had been reading the magazine for years and wanted to do more to promote his love of photography to our readers. His first column appeared in the November '91 issue. Monte's last article, written just weeks before his death, appeared in our April 2007 issue. We will present a special tribute to Monte in recognition of his many fans and followers of his images in our August issue.

Though Monte attended college to become an English teacher, it was the visual rather than written medium that would ultimately inspire him. He discovered photography in a high school camera club, and he immediately excelled at the art form. In photography, Monte found a method of expression that would sustain his artistic spirit and earn him the adoration of his peers for the rest of his life. His love affair with the camera would last more than 60 years, and would be exceeded only by his love for his family and close friends.

Monte operated a photography studio in the Washington area for more than 50 years, first in Garfinkels department store in Montgomery Mall and then in the White Flint shopping area in Rockville. A few years ago, he resettled to Florida where he continued to photograph, teach, and mentor amateur and professional photographers.

A partial list of his professional accolades includes the Photographer of the Year Award from the United Nations (2002), the Distinguished Service Award from the Photo Marketing Association, the Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman degrees from the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), the Westcott Award for Achievement, fellowship in the American Society of Photographers, membership in the elite Camera Craftsmen of America, and distinction as a Canon Explorer of Light. In addition, Monte had dozens of images entered into the prestigious PPA Loan Collection, received several honors from Wedding & Portrait Photographers International and the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers, and was awarded an honorary Master of Photography degree from PPA.

Before his passing, Monte initiated the Zucker Institute for Photographic Inspiration. The charitable organization is dedicated to inspiring at-risk youth through photography, giving them a vital creative outlet and possibly a future career. For more information, visit www.montezucker.com and click the link to the Institute.

Monte will be remembered by his loving family, dedicated friends, and generations of photographers who will forever think of him as a friend, a mentor, and a teacher.
--Jeff Medford

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