« SUV Cameras (Careful There, Snarky Blogger!) | Main | Cameras Can Be Dangerous »

Thursday, 27 December 2018


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Two Huge losses, - Makes me very sad.
I've been reading things that Jim wrote or edited for a very long time, and I am better for having read them.
I just purchased Michael's latest book, and as you point out, the quality is amazing.
As I get older I take this kind of news harder-- for obvious reasons , but also take heart from their strong examples. They were both interested and interesting Photographers to their core.

I am very much saddened to hear of the passiing of Jim Hughes. He and I had a sporadic e-mail friendship for several years. I agree with you that Camera 35 was the best of the best, and as an inveterate photo magazine collector, I was able to sell Jim a considerable number of issues to fill the holes in his collection of the magazine from his editing days.

Jim and I were also united in our devotion to our wives and to the quirky/loveable Fuji X-Pro1 with 40mm-equivalent lenses. His was an adapted Nikkor 28 and mine the Fuji 27.

So sorry to hear about Jim Hughes. I still have a few issues of Camera Arts in my "to good to get rid of" pile. I wish I had more of them.

After a childhood of Popular Photography and Modern Photography it was inspiring and refreshing to read about "photography" and not just pour over equipment specs.

I started reading American Photographer about that time and it was pretty good but not at Camera Arts Level. When CA folded they morphed my remain subscription into American Photographer and it seems that not long after AP became People Magazine for photographers.

Mike I do have a request for your followers, I believe there was a gentleman who did critiques most every month in CA and I can't for the life of me remember his name. It was somewhat unusual. HIs writing style required a dictionary at the ready otherwise it was impossible (for me) to get the meaning of his review.

God Speed Jim and Michael. You enriched many lives.

I am sorry for your losses, Mike.

Two simple and beautiful eulogies. Thank you.

We, who carry the memories, are disappearing.

I looked for an obit for Michael A. Smith in the Doylestown PA newspaper after I received the email (which I also forwarded to you). Now that most of the holiday chaos is behind us, I should try again. (Coincidentally, MAS and I shared a birth year, and a history of growing up in Philadelphia.)

Here is the email from November 27th:

"Fyi, in case you are not on their mailing list.

"I bought one of Paula's prints via a TOP sale, and met both Michael and Paula at their home/studio. I learned that he also came from Philly, and probably would have chatted a bit longer had not a timer gone off in his darkroom.


"---------- Forwarded message ---------
Date: Tue, Nov 27, 2018, 18:52
Subject: Michael A. Smith: 1942–2018

"It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of a true visionary, Michael A. Smith, Founder of Lodima Press.

"Michael's passion for making, promoting, and teaching photography remained sincere and strong throughout his more than 50-year career as a leading figure in fine-art photography. As a result, Michael was known internationally as a brilliant photographer and as an extraordinary teacher, theorist, critic, and publisher. No matter which hat he wore at any given time, Michael never tired of giving his time, knowledge, and passion to the visual arts.

"Moreover, Michael always dreamed big. His greatest dream (indeed, his ultimate dream) was to continue giving back to the world of photography—a world that had given him so much success, sense of purpose, and simple joy. In particular, Michael wanted to give back by fostering scholarship, organizing exhibitions, and advocating appreciation, not only in photography but also to allied areas of the visual arts.

"Before his passing and, most movingly, since then, many people around the world who knew Michael, his work, and his mission have asked what they can do to make the dream come true. If you feel motivated to contribute to that essential effort, please make a donation to Arts of Our Time, the not-for-profit organization that Michael founded in 2003. By contributing, you will enable Paula Chamlee, his wife, partner in the arts, and AOT co-founder, to honor Michael's memory, ensure his legacy, and keep his dream alive for the benefit of future generations of visual artists as well as for the many people who care deeply about the arts.

"A memorial service is being planned at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown to celebrate his life and work. The date is yet to be determined, but will take place sometime after the holidays."

I appreciated your comments about the two men you admired and can truly understand your emotions. They indeed will be missed.

Regarding the picture of Michael A. Smith, it reminds me of my youthful days of carrying 40lbs of Hasselblad gear and tripods to the tops of mountains. Surprised most of us didn’t die doing that rather than living to experience “humanely” light cameras!

Here is the Lodima website, with the announcement:

Also, I could not find anything on the Michener Museum site, which is,

Mike, I’m very sorry for your loss. To lose two friends at once is horrible. I lost someone very close to me this year. I still can't believe it. I wish you peace.


I learned of Michael's passing from the Lodima announcement of November 20 on Facebook while in the midst of travelling and photographing with my 4x5 Toyo. The sadness reverberated for several days. I regret never meeting him.

I have greatly appreciated the articles by Jim Hughes on TOP, and on one occasion had the fun of reading his reply to my Featured Comment in which I recalled his interview with Dennis Stock in 1978. Jim Hughes was a reservoir of memories and experiences and his writing was always informative and enjoyable. Thank you for bringing him to us here on TOP.

More than a decade before the birth of the public internet, Camera Arts was a wellspring of photographic inspiration. Wonderful eulogies.

Sad news, indeed. May they both rest in peace. Hughes’ biography of W Eugene Smith is amazing.

These are two absolutely huge losses to our family.

I was very sad to hear of the death of Michael A. Smith, whose photos, along with those of his wife, Paula Chamlee (purchased from you), adorn my dining room walls. I see them every day and examine them almost as often.

Very sorry to hear the news regarding both terrific people. Deepest sympathy.

On a far less important note, your 2013 article referenced Edward Weston's black finger nails due to the use of Amidol. It was, in fact, a family (Edward, Brett and Kim) trait...


Mike, I am very sorry for your losses, my sincere condolences. Thanks to TOP I have had the great pleasure to get into contact with Jim. In a piece he wrote for TOP a number of years ago, Jim mentioned the Dutch experimental ('beat' if you will) and some say quite obnoxious Dutch photographer Sanne Sannes (1937-1967), who was a photographic hero of mine in my youth. Jim had even met Sannes in the States in the early sixties. At the time of Jim's TOP post, a documentary on Sannes had been broadcasted on Dutch televsion. I told Jim about it and send him the link. Jim was very interested, so I more or less translated the spoken commentary for him (as these things go, a proposal more easily made than fullfillled, but great fun nevertheless). Jim's knowledge and the very kind way in which he shared his enthousiasm with me, are a very dear memory of mine to this day.

Through TOP I bought the Weston book and noticed with pleasure the long piece on Michael A Smith and by him in f11, sadly now closed but still available online. https://issuu.com/f11magazine/docs/issue51-february2016?mode=window&backgroundColor=%23222222. Thet issue has an equally impressive piece on his wife. Many things said by both of them resonate with me more than almost anything else I've read by photographers. One pithy conclusion of MA Smith's, apropos his using the view cameras he liked: "Artists are more interested in making things than things made."


A link to the notice posted on the Large Format Home Page.
Michael was a polarizing figure with talent, drive and images to back it up. If anything, his wife Paula is an even better photographer. It falls on her to continue the business and legacy. She is up to it. Texas tough and beauty queen beautiful, she was a great match for Michael. Two great talents working as a team, pushing each other for creative vision and fine images.

I'm sorry to hear about Jim Hughes's death. I think he lived here, in Camden ME, but I haven't seen a death notice or obituary for him in any of the Maine papers.

Yet our memories endure and though we miss them terribly, our thoughts turn to them day after day. Their passing encourages us to seek out others to know and befriend and to learn from.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007