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


Anonymous said...

thank you so much for remembering my father. I've started a blog for him at, where'll we'll be posting photos and stories about him. And scanning in some of his wild ties.
I didn't inherit his technological genius, but I'm hoping photographers like you might talk to each other and maybe pick up something useful. Thanks again, Kathy Keppler

Mark said...

Kathy --
Thanks, as I feel quite honored to receive your message. I shall definitely mouse over to the blog.

My sincere condolences, and I am sure that knowing how many people were influenced by your father has to be somewhat comforting.

Best wishes,

cbcman said...

Does anyone remember an article called "Ten Lenses that Shook the World'? It had to be mid-1970s-1980, and it must have been written by Herb Keppler. Would love to get a copy of the article. Thanks

cbcman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike said...

Wow, it's been over a year since Mr. Keppler passed on. I remember that Modern Photography (article (it might have been 13 not 10), and I probably still have the issue of MP that it was piblished in.\ - but it's at home and I'm stuck in Afghanistan all year. Mr Keppler always had great commentary and i kept several of his "Keppler on the SLR columns. We're all sad to see him gone.
-Mike Santos LtCol US Army - Afghanistan

Mark said...

Thanks for the comment, Mike. I think Mr. Keppler has many fans because he wasn't a camera snob, and wrote so well.

Good luck with your work in Afghanistan.

Best wishes,