Sunday, January 06, 2008
Another Great One Gone - Herbert Keppler.
I learned tonight that Herbert Keppler passed away Friday in New York after a brief illness. I know old photographers don't live forever, but I was surprised to learn that he was 82. I always enjoyed reading his column in Popular Photography, and many times, it was the best thing in there over the last few years, as the magazine shifted towards digital doohickeys. Herb Keppler was not a camera snob -- he tried all sorts of cameras and equipment, giving the readers a straight story on what he thought of them. At heart, I think he was a Pentax man, which makes a lot of sense, as he was the everyman photographer. Adorama issued a press release about Keppler, and noted his long career in Modern Photography and later, Popular Photography. He was editor and publisher of MP for 30 years -- an amazing longevity! He also was a champion for photographic consumers as he battled against fraudulent advertisers. His book, The Pentax Way, is a classic, and of course, I have a copy on my shelf. One thing that was not mentioned is that his father, Victor Keppler, was a renowned commercial photographer that pioneered the use of color photography in advertising. Interestingly, his papers are at Syracuse University.
Though I never met him, I bet he was a pretty straight-shooter (just as in the title of his later column) and a gentleman. I think one thing that Popular Photography could do to honor him is to assemble some of his best writings and put them together in a book. His honest, down-to-earth evaluations of cameras and equipment were greatly appreciated by many, and people like him are all too rare in the media.
(photo from http://burtkeppler.typepad.com)