I'm extremely sorry to have to pass along the news of the death of a friend of us all.
Michael Reichmann, known all across the sprawling Internet photography community simply as "MR," has passed away after a long battle with cancer. Michael was the founder of The Luminous-Landscape, an influential enthusiast website that played a big part in reporting on, and influencing, the rise of digital photography during the digital transition.
A fine photographer in his own right both before and after his enthusiastic embrace of digital imaging, Michael's photographic interests were aptly reflected in the name of his site. Although he photographed other things, his primary passion was for beautiful and, indeed, luminous landscapes. He traveled the world looking for them.
I first met Michael in the 1990s when the energetic and enthusiastic Canadian and his soft-spoken English friend Chris Sanderson, an experienced professional videographer and filmmaker, came to Niles, Illinois, in the Chicago exurbs, to pitch an idea to myself and the Publisher of Photo Techniques magazine. Michael and Chris had in mind a video photography magazine delivered on DVD, and they wanted to pair up with PT to get their product on the newsstands. I thought it was manna from heaven for us, but the Publisher and his Director of Marketing Services turned Michael and Chris down. The idea later became The Video Journal, which was sold for a number of years by mail-order subscription. Michael did write a number of articles for me at PT, and he became one of our earliest digital print offer artists—we sold prints Michael had made with the 3-megapixel Canon D30. Those were the days when "uprezzing apps" were hotly discussed! The sale did very well, not because of the techniques involved but because of Michael's lyrical photographs.
When I left Photo Techniques, I wanted to keep writing about photography, and Michael and I switched places—I became the writer and he became my editor for many weekly columns on The Luminous-Landscape. The column was eventually called "The Sunday Morning Photographer." Although I only met him in person that one times in Niles, he and I spoke often by phone during that time, covering business and of course all manner of topics photographic.
MR interviewing Ctein in 2013
Just as my SMP column eventually morphed into The Online Photographer, so did The Video Journal eventually give way to both free and subscription videos on Michael's L-L site. But that was the tip of the iceberg in terms of Michael's protean activities in the field he so loved. He did many interviews (one of my favorites featured jazz great Oscar Peterson), guided travel workshops and photography trips, published many different writers, and of course reviewed hundreds of cameras.
Several years ago, knowing he had cancer, he founded The Luminous Endowment to help photographers of all kinds fund their projects and further their work.
Michael earned for himself a place in the history of photography with his early championing of digital and his longtime influence on the public discussion. His loss is truly a hard one for the photography community. Deep condolences to MR's family and loved ones.
This is often said but seldom so true: he will be missed. Michael had many friends, even among people he never met. He was 71.
(Thanks to David Smigelskis)
Original contents copyright 2016 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Steve Rosenblum: "I am deeply saddened to hear this. I carried on an intermittent email conversation with Michael through the years, have read L-L since its inception, and had the pleasure of publishing an article on his site as part of the Sunday Morning Photographer column in 2004. I always admired his ability to turn his passion into something that the rest of us could learn from and enjoy—and that will continue after his death. Not such an easy thing to do. I few of his photographs hang in my home. I will miss him."
Michael Cytrynowicz: "Oh no! I am so sad. Always a reader of his, learned so much with him along the years, always enjoying his gentle canuckness, especially across the literally dozens of videos I watched with him and Jeff Schewe, Ctein, Ken Raber and many others. When they decided to open up all LuLa contents for $1 a month, I was exhilarated—what a cool, generous move. That was how Michael was. And I enjoyed as well his musings about re-discovering film. Will be sorely missed—my condolences to his wife and family—he was a real mensch."
Al Jaugelis: "I've appreciated his articles and opinions, but much, much more, his photographs. Many of them stop me and hold my gaze. Masterfully composed, color that takes my breath away. I never knew him apart from the LuLa site, but truly feel we have lost a very special man, and a great photographer. One who still inspires me."
Michel Filion: "I am so grateful that I once wrote Mr. Reichmann to tell him how beautiful his photos were! He was very touched with my email and thanked me for it. I am leaving for Iceland Tuesday and will think about him everytime I see a luminous landscape. Thank you, Sir."
Response from Kevin Raber: Everyone, thank you so much. Your comments mean the world to Michael's family and me. Michael was just about the best friend one could have and I am proud and honored to be carrying on the tradition of Luminous-Landscape. Both of us share the same passions and while I may never be crafty with words as Michael was I will speak my piece. It's my hope and dream that we continue Luminous-Landscape to be better than ever and serve as a great resource for photographers around the world.
—Kevin Raber, Publisher, Luminous-Landscape