Remembering the Influential Photographers We Lost in the Past Year

June 30, 2017

© Nathan Lyons/Courtesy of Bruce Silverstein Gallery

Nathan Lyons’s diptych, “Untitled (Riding First Class on the Titanic),” 1974-1998.

© Allison Michael Orenstein

George Pitts, photographed by Allison Michael Orenstein in 2007.

George Pitts, 66
The photographer, who was previously a painter and writer, was photo director of Vibe from 1993 to 2004. He was the recipient of the Lucie Award for Picture Editor of the Year in 2006. Pitts died March 4, 2017, after a long illness.

Lennart Nilsson, 94
The Swedish photographer was known for his pioneering images of human fetuses taken using an ultra-fine tube called an endoscope with an electronic flash, and was most notably recognized for his book A Child is Born. He died on January 28, 2017.

Lord Snowdon, 86
Photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, known as Lord Snowdon and recognized internationally for his portraits of royalty, artists, actors, authors and musicians, died on January 13, 2017, at his home in London.

Rodney Smith, 68
Rodney Smith, the photographer known for his whimsical and carefully crafted black-and-white images for American Express, Bergdorf Goodman, The New York Times Magazine, Ralph Lauren and Vanity Fair, was found dead at his home in Palisades, New York, December 5, 2016.

William Christenberry, 80
The photographer was known for his depictions of rural Alabama that evoked a sense of place in a region with a rich but dark history. He was also one of the pioneers of color fine-art photography. He died on November 28, 2016, nearly six years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Ruth Gruber, 105
A witness to the exodus of Jews from Nazi-occupied Europe, the formation of Israel and the emigration of Ethiopia’s Jews, Gruber published 19 books of her images and writings. She died on November 16, 2016, at her home in New York City.

Jeroen Oerlemans, 45
The Dutch photojournalist was killed in Sirte, Libya, on October 2, 2016, while on assignment for the Belgian magazine Knack and other publications. According to reports, he had been shot in the chest by an ISIS sniper during the battle for control of Sirte.

Nathan Lyons, 86
The photographer and educator founded the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, and was the first chairman of the Society for Photographic Education. He also served as curator of photography and associate director of the George Eastman House. He died August 31, 2016.

Marc Riboud, 93
The French photojournalist was an early member of Magnum. He documented the transformation of China for over 40 years and made the iconic 1967 photo of an anti-war demonstrator confronting National Guardsmen with a flower in her hand. He died on August 30, 2016.

Wilbur Garrett, 85
The former National Geographic editor, who pushed for coverage of timely and sometimes controversial subjects during his tenure, died at his home on August 13, 2016.

Bill Jones, 81
One of the first black photographers to cover red carpet events, Jones created portraits of black celebrities in Hollywood, and icons such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela. He suffered from dementia, and died on
June 25, 2016.

Bill Cunningham, 87
Known for capturing street style in New York City, Cunningham worked for The New York Times for nearly 40 years and was celebrated in the 2010 documentary Bill Cunningham New York. He died on June 25, 2016, a few days after he suffered a stroke.

David Gilkey, 50
The award-winning photographer and video producer for National Public Radio, and his translator, photographer Zabihullah Tamanna, were killed June 5, 2016, in Afghanistan when the Afghan army unit they were traveling with came under attack by the Taliban.

John Welzenbach, 64
A commercial photographer and a founder of the Chicago chapter of Advertising Photographers of America, Welzenbach died on April 28, 2016, in Arlington Heights, Illinois.