In Memoriam: Bill Clark

Willard (Bill) Clark, a photo industry icon and the former executive director of Photoimaging Manufacturers & Distributors Association (PMDA), died on Sept. 24. He was 77 years old. Cause of death was cancer.

Mr. Clark was associated with the photo industry for more than 40 years primarily in consumer and trade journalism, both as a writer and photographer, and more recently with PMDA. He worked with the senior executives of virtually every firm in the photo industry, serving as confidant and advisor to many and earning the respect of all.

Mr. Clark came to New York as a photographer for United Press after working for a small Ohio newspaper as a reporter and photographer. His equipment in those days was a 4x5 Speed Graphic, standard issue for a news journalist at that time but now seen only in photo museums and period movies. In 1954 he became associate editor of U.S. Camera magazine and then founding editor of Camera 35 magazine. "I was a staff of one," he once said. He subsequently was appointed editor.

After a variety of other magazine publishing positions, Mr. Clark came back to the photo industry in 1981 as editor and associate publisher of Photo Weekly Magazine, which evolved into Photo Business Magazine. His final publishing stint was a short one as editor of PTN.

Mr. Clark retired from his position as PMDA executive director earlier this year.

At the time of his retirement, some industry associates paid tribute to him. Stacie Errera, chief marketing officer for Tamron USA, Inc., and current president of PMDA, said, "Bill always acted as a professional and was liked by everyone. Everything Bill did was in the best interest of the organization."

Dan Unger, Agfa's director of marketing and PMDA board member, said of Bill: "He was an easy-going guy who did everything right."

Mr. Clark is succeeded by two sons, Paul, Ashland, OR, and Bruce, Hopewell, NJ, both attorneys, and two granddaughters, Fiona, 3 ½ and Emmeline, 1. He was pre-deceased by his wife, Olga.

Editor's Note: The notes on Bill's life were kindly provided by Jerry Lansky. I knew Bill for almost twenty years and he was always a class act, with a kind word and encouragement for all. His "How are you doin', man!" greeting will always echo in my ears. Those fortunate enough to have known and worked with him understand that he was a great contributor to photography and the photo industry and a genuinely good soul. I will miss him greatly.
--George Schaub