Al Kaplan has passed away.

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by ralph_jensen, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. I've been a fan since the seventies.
    Sad news for those left behind, condolences to his family, RIP Al...
  2. I can fix that link for you.
    Al was an polarizing guy in some ways. I enjoyed many of his images/thoughts and also butted heads with him in a couple different instances on, the last of which necessitated a parting of ways between him and PN. But it is hard to argue that he wasn't a very interesting fellow, dedicated to Leicas (and film), and a skilled photographer.
    It's always sad to find out that someone's ticket has been called. But I suppose that's just the way of it for us humans. And those of us who have been on PN for a long time are going to have to get used to this sort of bad news, as there will be plenty more of it as some of the "old timers" move on to the next life (or insert your personal belief system here).
    So raise a glass tonight to all the interesting, fascinating, and frustrating creative people you have known in your life. Then make a resolution to spend every second of 2010 to the full extent possible.
  3. I enjoyed reading Al's posts and seeing his pictured. He will be sorely missed.
    My condolences go to his family.
  4. My condolences to his family and friends. What character and unbridled passion. A life well-lived. Godspeed, Al.
  5. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    I'm very sorry to hear this. I always liked Al.
  6. A character, in a rough-edged but benign sort of way. His photographs were good and he had a wealth of solid knowledge accumulated over decades. He was also an enthusiastic smoker, but I bet he would not have done this differently, even with the knowledge he would go too young. Whatever the case, the world's a bit less of an interesting place today.
  7. I'm very sorry to hear of Al's passing. It comes to all of us much too soon. My condolences to his family. I know he will be missed by many.
  8. I enjoyed Al's input on PN. He opened my eyes to several novel approaches to photography. Yes, heartfelt condolences to his family.
    I will miss that certain wit.
  9. I always found Al to be positive and enjoyed his exchanges and posts. I will miss him. I also add my condolences to his family. I hope he is in a place filled with all the Leica's he can use.
  10. Very sad to hear this news.
    Al was unfailingly gracious to newcomers and to those who asked questions. I recall reading a post once (possibly by Marc Lieberman ?) that said Al treated them as he would treat guests at his table at home.
    That post was right on target.
    My condolences to Al's family and his many photography friends.
  11. Good-bye, old friend.
  12. I am sorry to hear of his passing and extend condolences to his family.
    Al was a true gentleman who continued to help other photographers after his departure from this site. He was unfailingly generous with his time and knowledge. When I could no longer stay in touch with him here, we began corresponding privately. He sent me one of his prints and two long rolls of a special order film, gratis.
    Among Al's clients were some universities in the Miami area. It would be fitting if one of them offered an Al Kaplan Memorial Scholarship in photography. I imagine that his many friends on would contribute amounts large and small to endow it.
    I hope that his heirs choose to preserve and exhibit his photographic legacy.
  13. Al's passing away is a loss. He was a photographer with a rich history of photo journalism. His unique use of the 15mm for self portrait was snickered at by many people here, but he was not intimidated by the negative feedback. On several photo websites Al found many admiring friends.
    May he rest in peace.
  14. I'm very sad to hear that. Al was one of the fresh voices when he contributed here on PN. My condolences to his family.
  15. SCL


    Al was an inspiration to me because he could always find a new angle, regardless of quirkiness, to revive interest in photography, besides being a wealth of knowledge. My condolences to his family.
  16. It was very sad news to hear of Al's passing. His posts were always interesting and informative. May he rest in peace.
  17. May AL rest in the hand of God in Heaven,
  18. Al, RIP, ondolences to his family.
  19. Al, RIP, ondolences to his family.
  20. I must have spoken to Al several times. A few years ago I bought a case of Kodak Imagelink HQ 35mm perforated microfilm. Al had an interest in trying and he was one of the photo.netters who bought a 100 foot roll of the film from me for cost. I thought I might see him one day when I went to FL to visit my dad.
  21. May Al's monkey shine on...RIP good man.
  22. He was an interesting guy, especially from the perspective of history. I didn't often visit the Leica Forum but when I did Al was among the few guys, along with Tony, who didn't make the non-Leica fellows like me feel like heretics and heathens. And Al was okay by me on the b&w forums. He was a paladin of the old school era when Leicaphiles and film fanatics made the internet at least as interesting as playing any fantasy warcraft game.
    One day we will look back with irreverence and declare: They don't make 'em like Al Kaplan anymore. Heck, let's declare it now.
  23. Oh man --- Al was one of my biggest inspirations early on -- he is already missed... God speed, Al...
  24. Al obviously got great pleasure from his smoking. Living in Florida and seeing so many people die slowly, I'd bet he figured he'd just as well take the chance on going quickly. He certainly chose to enjoy life.
  25. A great loss - someone I greatly admired as a person. I am deeply shocked
  26. Great Guy. He will be missed.
  27. Sad news, but not tragic. Al enjoyed his time on this earth, and made the most of it. I'll miss him.
    Here's to you, Al - a New Year's Eve (almost) toast. I hope they have superwide lenses where you're headed. And stuffed monkeys. And cigarettes and coffee, and pretty girls.
  28. Al's work was in a sub-genre of its own and simply fascinating. To add to that he was an interesting personality and always a pleasure to communicate with or just listen to.
    A sad way to leave 2009 behind. My condolences to his family.
    I hope his blog and his legacy lives for many years to come.
  29. I, too, will also miss Al Kaplan. His comments and observations added to the value of this forum. His photo essay about Carl, the shoe repairman was my favorite of his many contributions. It is still here on
  30. I am very sorry to hear it. Hope his comments and advices may benefit all of us forever! His spirits always here.
  31. If a man is to shed the lightof the sun upon other men, he must first of all have it within himself. Al was an inspiration to me and I am sure the light will be wit him. My sincere condolences to all his family and friends.
  32. Al was one of many really knowledgeable photographers who used to visit here. Many of them were driven away by the negative comments from posters who don't know them or their reputation. PN became much poorer because of this (many sites suffered the same fate). Al was an exception, he trudged on, and late comers(relatively speaking) like me were thus able to learn a lot.
    The last bit of knowledge I gained from him was about the quick finder on a Rolleiflex twin lens reflex.
    Thank you, Al.
  33. I really liked Al and his contributions to the Leica community.
    Condoleances to his family.
  34. you just can disappear like that...Al! I still haven't figured out wot lobe t' file on my 40 to bring up t' 35 frame lines...sorry t' see ya go so soon.
  35. I will miss Al. I wish him all joy!
  36. It was always interesting to follow the discussions in which Al Kaplan participated.
  37. I only hope they let him bring his Leica's (and his 15mm Skopar) to heaven.
    I met Al in Miami earlier this decade, and we went deep sea fishing together. He was a great guy, a gracious host, and a real gentlemen. He loved his family, the ocean and taking pictures.
    Vios Con Dios Preacher.
  38. I spent an afternoon with Al a few months ago. Be assured that Al did not slow down and coast to a stop but instead lived life at a 90 mile an hour pace up to the end.
  39. Al, you showed us life to the fullest. I liked that you loved fishing besides photographing with Leica and RF cameras. Tight lines and Tri-X wherever you are. You will be missed.
  40. He was my buddy & Florida "photo net pal" for many years. The one shot I ever posted on my "Gallery"
    in Photo net. was my pic.of Al taken in 2004.
  41. Al would say: "Paul, haven't I showed you a million times how to display a photo on" See, old buddy, I still need your help! Rest in peace.
  42. Al was one of the treasures of, at a time when a lot of interesting photographers and personaliities were posting. The fact it was 'necessary to have a parting of ways' leaves this forum the poorer.
    As for Al's second parting of ways, that's much harder to argue with. Happy shooting Al, you left a great legacy, both of photos and of helpfulness to others.
  43. Shocked and saddened by this sudden turn of events
    Missed him for a while here where I felt he left a big gap but enjoyed his recent contributions on RFF
  44. I really enjoyed his post and corresponded with him via email a few times. He will be missed.
  45. I'm heartbroken. It seems like just yesterday we were exchanging e-mails about everything under the sun. A fellow South Floridian, he was one of the few that was unimpressed by the phoney glitz and glamor that have plagued that region and turned it into a Southern extension of the Magic Kingdom.
    two Kaplan quotes from our e-mail exchanges
    On Annie Liebovitz and her bankruptcy: "She was the right girl in the right place at the right time and the media took it from there. They needed a female photographer to promote, being Jewish helped, being gay was the icing on the cake. She was a lousy damned photographer, and it turns out that it's easier to hire good photo assistants than reliable financial advisors." General sense of humor: "I just can't seem to hook up with a sane woman. Otherwise I'm fine." And finally, a photograph of Seminole Indians that he was kind enough to contribute to my blog We'll have coffee when I get to the other side, Al. john
  46. John,
    Thanks for the quotes and the link too. I will miss Al.
  47. So gratifying to see the length of this thread. He knew Leicas like none of us did, and got the most out of them. A man with a large personaility, I always found him likeable. And his pics were as unique as he was. Dammit!
    Rest in Peace, Al.
  48. RIP, good friend.
  49. As a friend of mine that has come close ends his messages, life is sweet, death is pleasant, the transition is what is hard. RIP
  50. This is really sad news. I followed him on his blog and traded e-mails now and then but never really got to know him like I would have liked to. He was a treasure to his craft and his work will live on. May God give his family and close friends strength at this time.
  51. This is a terrible loss. Al was an inspiration to us all.
  52. Al, you will greatly missed by all here ,RIP, condolences to family and friends alike., your contributions on will be cherished and still guide and inspire us.
  53. This is sad news. I gave one of Al's prints of a very young Bob Dylan (with chubby cheeks!) and Joan Baez playing together to my Dylan loving older sister, and it occupies a place of honor on her wall. I don't know if many of you folks remember, but their was a T shirt with Al's curmudgeonly photo (cigarette hanging out of mouth) on the front sold via this site a number of years ago. Every time I have ever worn it people have given me the strangest looks and asked "Who the hell is that guy, and why is he on your T shirt??". Tonight I will put it on and drink a toast to old Al.
  54. I am very saddened to hear of Al’s passing.
    He will be missed by many folk, and by myself.
    I had always enjoyed his postings including those pictures of himself.
    My sincere condolences to his family.
  55. jtk


    A very good man. He picked worthwhile fights, made real connections, had fun. I loved the way he related to people around him and the sweet way they obviously responded...
  56. Al,
    God's speed my friend. You will be missed.
    PS: This Chivas is for you buddy -
  57. I agree, Al is the guy who brings people in. He had knowledge and experience, much more than most of us combined. And he knew how to share it. PN was made poorer after he left and now the world is poorer at his passing. I regret that I'll never get a chance to meet him.
  58. My sincere condolences. A life well lived.
  59. My due reference.
    Thanks Al for keeping it up with humor and knowledge.
  60. So long Al....
  61. It just dawned on me from Bob Michaels' photo that Al had a slight resemblance to Abe Lincoln. :)
    Sorry to hear the news... RIP, Al.
  62. RIP, Al
  63. My condolence to the Kaplan family, my thoughts are with you.
  64. A particularly memorable contributor to this forum. Unfailingly helpful and willing to share his experience. I enjoyed his contributions and correspondence. Al's passing is a sad loss for all.
  65. I am so very sorry to hear about this; just found out.
    RIP, Al. We'll miss you.
  66. Sorry to hear it. Condolences.
  67. Al and I exchanged a few e-mails over the years. The quality of his posts indicate he had more practical knowledge of all things Leica than almost anyone on the net. He was the polar opposite of photographers who own a Leica for reasons other than photographic,. A character who could be defensive but having a big heart and willing to share knowledge. He will be missed but his posts live on. Now how do you file a Rokkor 40 to bring up the 35mm frame (smile).
  68. Sad news indeed ... RIP Al
  69. It's been almost five years since I had lunch with Al at Jimmy's Restaurant. It was January 30, 2004. We had a great lunch and talked Leicas and everything else we could think of. Al was a one-of-a-kind guy. The mold's broken. You are missed.
  70. Great guy - he will be missed by ALL.
  71. i once told Al that he looked like Keith Richards older brother in that t-shirt i bought with his picture on it. great guy from the great and always politically incorrect days of the old leica forum. hope they have film wherever he is.
  72. gib


    I was a fan of his on pnet and of his photo blog, I own one of his t shirts, I will wear it often in the summer to honour his memory. he was kind to me when I first posted on this forum. A very fine photographer indeed.
  73. Rest in peace Al, thanks for all the film advice!
  74. Al was a good guy and will be missed.
  75. I'm very sad to hear of this. Al Kaplan was largely responsible for my love and passion in rangefinders. Here's wishing you plenty of Tri-X where ever you are, Al.
  76. Went to Al´s blog today to check once more if he was well after his heartattack
    in December. But what a shock to read his children´s post, that he has passed away ...

    >> RIP, Al, wherever you are right now <<

    I will never forget a most interesting afternoon in a Starbucks Cafe in Miami some time ago.
    He brought some of his wonderful b/w-prints along and I had a chance to buy
    some of them. They are framed properly and I´am still enjoying them a lot
    every single day.

    That way, his photography makes him living for ever.

    My condolence to is family.

    Karl Georg Wolf
  77. So sorry to hear about this --- my sympathies to his family. He will be greatly missed.
  78. Very shocked indeed. Al emailed me a few times. He was a great teacher and person. Superb photographer. Im very sad. I wished his family well .
  79. I've been out of Internet contact for a while. This is shocking news. Al was still too young to go. I never met Al but we did exchange e-mails and I have an Al Kaplan T-shirt (thanks to James Mitchell) that I cherish. I really liked that man. My heartfelt condolences to his family.
    I wish I could include here a shot of my Al Kaplan T-shirt--I have one of Sawako wearing it--but am far away from home, writing in a cafe with free wi-fi.
    Al was the quintessential Leica / RF photographer. He seemed somehow older and from an earlier era than he was. He was not only a fascinating character but also an iconic character. He was a presence on the Leica Forum and on PN. I missed his postings and now regret to have not kept up my correspondence with him and to have never met him in person.
    Rest in Peace Al Kaplan. You lived a full life.
  80. RIP Buddy! You will be missed. Al was a gentlemen and a great guy.
    See you on the other side!
  81. My sincere condolences to his family. I will miss him and his commentes here on PN. Carlos, SP, Brazil.
  82. R.I.P., Al.
    My deep condolences to his relatives and close friends.
  83. Typical, thoughful Al at Jimmy's, 3/2005
  84. One more: my buddy & I in Jimmy's, 2/2003 -- Al's set-up
  85. Thanks for the photos, Paul.
  86. Al Kaplan, circa 2005 or 2006. Shot on K25 with a diffused flash at Starbucks in North Miami. He shot my first wedding with Marc Williams, and my second wedding solo. Excellent photographer, superb human being. Left us way too soon.
  87. Really sorry to hear the news - when I first got into Leica's it was Al's contributions I looked for. Condolences to his family and best wishes to all.
  88. this is a great portrait Steve. thanks for sharing
  89. sorry....Mikal!
  90. Al was a warm, caring guy who was very patient and helpful, I have read thousands of his posts on Pnet and RFF.
    I read all the above posts and I agree with all the accolades and eulogies.

    I hope to meet Al in heaven some day, and I am going to Shul to say a Kaddish to speed his soul to heaven where the patterns of light will make his soul rest in ecstasy since he knew how to make art out of light in his photography
  91. Al's not gone, he's just gone underground so to speak. Getting those impossible photos of AA, HCB arguing over everything and naturally well fueled by strong coffee.
  92. I keep finding these:
  93. Just got the sad news today. I'm so glad I met him personally at his beloved Miami Starbucks a few years ago. We have a fun lively time, and he was just a hoot to chat with. Condolences to his family...I'll miss his old lively and provocative postings here at PN, and other places too. I miss the spice he added to my life...weekly reads of his blog were something I often looked forward to.
    So long Al!
  94. Condolences. He was one of a kind.
  95. I have just found out this sad news... I never met this man personally, only from what he wrote in this forum. I know his face thanks to the many pics I have seen from him here.
    I have learned many things thanks to the knowledge he shared. I`m also influenced by some of his thoughts and photography. I feel grateful with him.
    My condolences to his family and friends.
  96. I was just getting ready to make some coffee when this showed up at my door.
    Silver is indeed, better....
  97. have been away from for a couple of years or so, and had been worried about al since he posted news of a hospitalization a while back. had a bad feeling about him so i searched the site and found the sad news.

    al was a great guy and contributor to the site. like someone said earlier, he was never condescending to a neophyte, and was a lot of fun to correspond with. he had a wealth of knowledge, experience, and advice which he gave generously.

    i bought a shot of janis joplin from him several years ago and it's on the wall currently. i hope his family or an institution can archive and research his photo archive. he has a lot of gems in there that are yet to be discovered. in my last email with him i reminded him that i wanted to buy a photo of the jefferson airplane if he ever got around to finding the negatives. hope someday to see them. i'm sure a good book is possible from the hundreds of thousands of photos he took.

    we miss you, al.
  98. jbs


    Dammit, I just got the memo. I wish I had met you, Al. And thank you.
  99. We never really got on, but despite that it is still very sad news.
    God bless Al Kaplan.
    (Sorry for the late post but I only saw this news by accident today.)
  100. A great character.

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