In Memoriam; Al DeBat: Prominent Photo Editor And Writer 1931-2008

Alfred Louis DeBat, a leading authority on digital imaging and traditional photography, passed away on Sunday, March 30th, after a lengthy battle with cancer. A graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, DeBat traveled extensively as a photographer and served as editor-in-chief of several prominent imaging publications, including Professional Photographer, Photomethods, Darkroom Techniques & Creative Camera, and Digital Imaging Digest.

DeBat was editor-in-chief of PPA's professional journal, Professional Photographer, and director of publications for PPA Publications, which encompassed Photomethods, for nearly a decade. It was during his tenure at PPA that DeBat spearheaded the evolution of Photomethods magazine from an industrial photographic publication to the first digital imaging magazine in the US, PHOTO>Electronic Imaging (PEI), launched in 1991.

After leaving PPA, DeBat began working for the publications division of the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) in Jackson, Michigan, in a variety of capacities. He was a senior editor of Photo Marketing Magazine (now PMA Magazine) and was the first editor of DIMA Digital Imaging Digest newsletter, a PMA publication. In 2004, he was named senior editor of the PMA Prints-Are-Memories website, which also serves as the PMA Editorial Bank.

Sought-after as a digital photo expert, DeBat most recently served as technical editor for major book publishers and edited several digital imaging and photographic volumes.

Following his graduation from Medill, DeBat worked at several Chicago-based publications, including Printer's Ink, Furniture Manufacturing & Design, Rogue, and Playboy, where he was a photo editor and director of foreign editions for a decade. In the late '70s, he was assigned to manage Playboy's expansion overseas into several foreign language editions, including Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, and Australia.

His foreign assignments helped spark a lifelong love of travel, during which he toured more than 175 countries around the world.

DeBat was a member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). He was also the editor of the local ASMP, Chicago/Midwest, publication, The Loupe, which won first prize several years for best chapter publication. He was senior editor of the Photo Marketing Association International's photo information website and has many articles posted on A celebration of DeBat's life is scheduled for late this summer.