In memoriam of incredible photographers who left us in 2015. We will always remember their work and the man/woman behind the camera. You might not know them all but each one is worthy of remembrance for pursuing till the end the passion we share with them: photography.
Mary Ellen Mark (1940-2015)
In over 50 years as a celebrated humanist photographer, Mary Ellen Mark became one of the greatest photojournalists of her time: she produced 22 books and her work appeared in the pages of magazines such as LIFE, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, the New York Times Magazine and Vanity Fair. Mark was also one of the few female photographers at Magnum Photos when she joined in 1977. Her images reveal a stunning intimacy with the people in her photographs, whether it was a celebrity or a great artist or a prostitute or low-income circus performer. She remained in touch with many of her subjects right up until she died. Her final project was focused on Tiny, a young prostitute from Seattle whom she had photographed for LIFE in the 1980s in her book, Streetwise. "She collected people like that," says Denise Wolff, who worked with her on her last Aperture book. "She was fierce when she supported someone. There was never any doubt where you stood with her."
Mark was not always easy to work with, Wolff says. "She had a powerful intensity, almost like a restless presence. You could feel the ground move when she walked in and she knew what she wanted, whether it was rational or not." But as tough as she was, she was just as generous. She taught a workshop, pushing and challenging her students beyond what they were comfortable with. In her last weeks, she worked tirelessly to publish what she wanted to pass on to young photographers in her final Aperture book.
Charles Harbutt (1935-2015)
In the late 1960s and 70s, a slough of photographers joined Magnum Photos, including Mary Ellen Mark, Abby Heyman, Jeff Jacobson, Alex Webb and Jean Richards. All were championed by Charles Harbutt. A couple of times a president of Magnum, he was arguably one of the most influential American photographers of his time. "He was the person a whole generation of photographers looked to," says Jeff Jacobson, who worked with Harbutt at Magnum. "For those straddling that line between art and photojournalism, who were involved in documentary photography but not in a strict narrative storytelling sense, Charlie was it."
In 1981, Harbutt left Magnum to form Archive Pictures with his wife, Joan Liftin, as well as Mary Ellen Mark, Abigail Heyman, Mark Godfrey and later, Jacobson. Having become disillusioned by traditional photography, he left the narrative, classical form behind and forged a new photographic language. His work became mysterious and metaphorical. "Maybe I had a sell-by time, an expiration date for being a witness," Harbutt writes in the afterword of his 1974 book, Travelog. "I started questioning this reportage for myself. A host of manipulators had so corrupted and warped public events, I could no longer trust the authenticity of what I was seeing. Gradually my pictures became more about what I experienced in my day-to-day wanderings." Harbutt died at the age of 79 on June 29. He had emphysema.
Harold Feinstein (1931-2015)
Harold Feinstein loved Coney Island. While many others have photographed the famed boardwalk and amusement park, no one did so with such an eye for its storied charm. "It was a lifelong obsession," National Portrait Gallery Head of Photographs Phillip Prodger tells TIME. "He saw it as full of people like him—ordinary people, not materially privileged, but genuine and unspoiled, limitless in possibilities."
Feinstein began his career in photography at the age of 15 in 1946 and within four years, his work had been purchased for the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). He joined the Photo League, a cooperative of photographers in New York. He was one of the legendary "Jazz Loft," and a prominent figure in the New York City street photography scene. He taught too. Former New York Times photocritic A.D. Coleman calls him "one of a small handful of master teachers whose legendary private workshops proved instrumental in shaping the vision of hundreds of aspiring photographers."
Determined not to sell out or do anything remotely commercial, Feinstein had spurned all the usual sponsorships from Kodak and others camera makers. Feinstein died July 20 at 84.
Jean Luc Manaud
French photographer Jean-Luc Manaud, known as the "lord of the desert," died on Feb. 28. Born in southern Tunisia in 1948, Manaud returned to France at the age of 14 and trained in a school of architecture. He went on to photograph conflicts around the world, as well as the people and landscapes of the desert, from Niger to Chad to the Western Sahara. In 2000, Manaud published a few books and travel diaries that examined the dignity of various desert-dwelling nomadic people. "If you want to know Jean-Luc, look at this pictures," says his friend François Guenet, a longtime friend of Manaud with whom he founded the Odyssey agency in 1989. "His photographs question. And he nearly sacrificed everything he had for them."
Hal Gould (1920-2015)
Hal Gould died on June 25. He was 95. Born in Wyoming, he grew up on a ranch in New Mexico. Gould was a longtime photographer and curator of the fine art photography scene in Denver. After serving in the army during World War II, he studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. "I gave up painting and changed to photography because I thought it was the most dynamic medium for artistic expression of the 20th century," Gould told CPR News in 2009. "And people laughed at me then back in 1949 when I said that, but now they're beginning to believe it." His images embodied the American West, as well as beyond, including China, Africa and Antarctica. In 1963, Gould co-founded the Colorado Photographic Arts Center in Denver, before opening the Camera Obscura Gallery in the Golden Triangle neighborhood. "He lived the hell out of it-and on his own terms," wrote Shannon Piserchio, a documentary maker, on his Facebook wall. "The honesty and candor in which he recounted his rich and storied life, both in and out of photography, and the experiences we shared together have moved me in deep and profound ways."
French fashion photographer Marc Hispard passed away on April 25 in Belgium at 77. At 15, he began his career at the professional photographic lab Pictorial Service in Paris, while studying at Ecole du Louvre. Three years later, he worked for Le Jardin des Modes, a French women's fashion magazine. He went on to collaborate with the magazine ELLE, as well as Italian Vogue, American Mademoiselle and Sports Illustrated. In 1986, he started ELLE USA with three other photographers.
"He was a real gentleman," says Coolife Studios photographer Pauline Rochas. "He belonged to the masters. He had exquisite taste, a chic presence, and a kind of elegance about him that suggested that he was from another time. But also, he was a real authentic talent, photographically. He never shot digital and was a real purist."
Editor, photographer, theorist but above all poet, Denis Roche, died on Wednesday, September, 2nd in Paris at the age of 77. He created the collection Fiction & Cie and directed it at Editions Du Seuil for thirty years. In 1980, he founded "Les Cahiers de la Photographie" with Gilles Mora and Bernard Plossu, a magazine whose purpose was to gather all written works that lead to reflections on Photography. The magazine reached its pinnacle with the organization of two conferences at the Sorbonne, Paris in 1982 and 1985. Editor, photographer, theorist but above all poet. In 1987, Denis Roche was awarded the Photography grand prize of the city of Paris. His monograph "Les Preuves du Temps" specially edited [Editions du Seuil/Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris/ Paris 2001] for the exhibition dedicated to the photographer by the MEP, gathers all his photographic work.
For thirty years, he took a lot of pictures: travel,leisure and wandering pictures. Time is at the center of his work. His fascination for the present moment takes its roots in the deep desire to stop time, and to defer or even escape death. "Every picture, as you take it, is beside time. Of course! From the 'it was alright behavior' which brought little worry, to the 'nothing to say behavior' even present at the very core of the capture of an expression, a smile, a shape, or a light, is, in the end, what merely troubled Barthes."
These black and white pictures : self-portraits taken with a self timer, either alone or with his wife Françoise, nudes, landscapes, still life pictures mostly taken on vacation, are imbued with poetry. They are always tagged with locations, dates, and factual captions to perceive the tests of time. He experimented the possibility to write an autobiography using images and their captions. The diarist, Denis Roche, often portrayed himself taking pictures of himself, to show the overlaying of these two self-representing practices. His photographic self-portraits might correspond to the creational desire to stage writing, or at least to a constant questioning between literature and photography.
Hilla Becher (1931-2015)
Hilla Becher, part of another famed photographic duo, died on Oct. 10 at 81 years of age. Known for their typologic series on industrial structures that typified the western landscape, the German photographer and her husband Bernd were a prolific force in the photography world. "Hilla Becher was a remarkably incorruptible person," Thomas Struth told TIME earlier this year. "I loved her uncompromising but open-minded and gentle attitude, always curious, not sentimental but loving."
Becher first met Bernd while attending the same art school in 1957. Two years later, they began photographing together. Over 50 years, the duo captured water towers, silos, coal bunkers, blast furnaces and gas tanks. Their book, a scarce and early major monograph called Anonyme Skupturen, was released in the early 1970s, displaying in black-and-white in grids of these structures. The ideology behind their characteristic spreads, often called the Becher School, influenced artists such as Thomas Ruff, Struth and Andreas Gursky.
Dan Farrell (1930-2015)
Daily News photographer Dan Farrell has almost done it all. He’s been to every (baseball) World Series, he covered horse racing, as well as boxing matches. He golfed with Bob Hope and rode the subway with Bing Crosby. He got shots of Muhammad Ali, traveled with Pope John Paul II across Europe and accompanied Harry Belafonte on the USA for Africa tour. "The love of photography was his whole life," his daughter, Kathy Farrell Natoli tells TIME. "Everywhere he went he had a camera around his neck. He was the official photographer at every party. Everybody came to him for advice about photography and he loved giving it."
His iconic image of young John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father during his funeral was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, but lost to Dallas Times Herald's photographer Bob Jackson, who captured the moment when Jack Ruby shot Kennedy's assassin. "He said it was the saddest day of his life," Natoli says. "He was across the street from the church and he had one chance to get the shot. He read Jackie Kennedy's lips as she bent down to little John with the veil over her face. 'John, salute,' she said. He didn't do it right away and so she said it one more time and my dad snapped the picture." Farrell died on April 13 at 84.
Takuma Nakahira (1938-2015)
Renowned anti-war Japanese photographer Kikujiro Fukushima started documenting survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on his country when he photographed Sugimatsu Nakamura, a 43-year-old fisherman and survivor who suffered from the bomb's effects. His work criticized Japan's decision to go to war in World War II, and the government's refusal to compensate the victims. "He lived through the tumultuous years after the war and infiltrated the Self-Defense Forces and weapons industry with his stories while fearlessly challenging taboos," says Saburo Hasegawa, the director of Japan Lies- he Photojournalism of Kikujiro Fukushima, a documentary on Fukushima. "[He] was a legend to us."
Fukushima was stationed in Hiroshima in the Japanese military, where many of his comrades were killed. He told Japan's Self-Defense Forces head of public affairs that he would give them free photographs if they gave him access. But he had devised another plan. "If the government or corporations knowingly deceived the public by breaking the law, it's O.K. for photographers to break the law in order to uncover the truth they are hiding," Fukushima explained in Japan Lies. In 1982, Fukushima moved to an island. Refusing to take pension from the Japanese government, he wrote for magazines to get by. He died at 94.