Remembering A Dear Colleague

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As many of you know a dear friend and colleague left us not too long ago. The passing of someone close to us always gives us pause to consider how precious, and fragile, life is. Monte Zucker was one of the most talented photographers and educators I ever had the pleasure to know.

His energy, enthusiasm, and sense of sharing his craft was amazing, and inspirational.

One year Monte was the featured speaker on a Shutterbug cruise to Alaska. When he entered the ballroom where we held our daily classes there were those who knew him and those who might not have heard of him; when his class was over all felt close to him. I will never forget sitting in back of the auditorium and watching him work. He entered and started to play engaging music, and got everyone up and dancing together. He used humor, consummate skill, and his incredible imagery to lay out his approach to portraiture. And during the trip I always knew when Monte was leading a group, as they soon were posing together in a classic Monte group shot. It's one thing to teach and share your craft--and that's always admirable. It's another to do so in a way that makes everyone feel involved, and part of the fraternity of photographers. Throughout that trip Monte was working, whether it was discussion late into the night at and after dinner, or working with light and light modifiers on the deck as we cruised the Inland Waterway.

Monte was one of our featured columnists for many years, and each month I would look forward to the images and words he used to convey his message. Many times he would tell his story through a journal of the classes he taught in this country and around the world. And he would often show his students' work, a sign of his pride in them and his way of having their work published as well.

We felt the best way to remember Monte was to share some of our favorite Monte images with you. In this issue we do so in a portfolio of portraits and other shots that we have had the pleasure to publish. But there are many, many more to see, as well as words accompanying them that represent Monte's work in our pages. We invite you to visit the archives on our website (www.shutterbug.com) for all of Monte's work in Shutterbug from the past seven years. Typing Monte Zucker into our Search box on the site will reveal the amazing range of topics and ideas he shared, as well as much more of his wonderful photographs. Indeed, my photo on this page was made by Monte when we taught together at a workshop on Sanibel Island in Florida, and I was and am still proud that he favored me with his lens, and his friendship.

Photographers are a breed apart. But one thing that I have always loved about this craft and trade is the sense of sharing and fraternity that keeps it alive and vibrant. We are all better for those who took the time and energy to show us what they have learned and help us apply it to our own vision. In that, Monte was a very special guy, and he will be missed by us all.

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