It's Sunday morning, and as I write today's Reflections, it may well be one of the hardest I've ever written. At the same time, it's one of the most important to share.
Yesterday afternoon I got an email about one of the very best friends I've had in my life, Terry Deglau:
This is Sydney, Terry's daughter, writing you today with sad news. We wanted to be in touch with all of you as soon as possible, and since dad so loved his blog, we figured this was the best way to get the word out. This morning, Sat., September 14, 2019, our Dad passed away...
I immediately teared up, and for the rest of the evening, the tears would come and go, until my head hit the pillow. I fell asleep thinking about my good buddy and our thirty-year friendship together. It was more than just "thinking" about our friendship. As I closed my eyes, I was looking at a theater marquis with bold letters, "TONIGHT: Skip and Terry's Awesome Adventure." I walked into the theater and grabbed a seat.
Most of you didn't know Terry. He and I met around 1989, and he was instrumental in putting Kodak on the map with professional photographers. That might seem strange since back then Kodak was one of the top five most recognized brands in the world, but not in everyone's heart. Terry was hired to be the relations manager with the working public. His target? Professional photographers in the portrait/social categories.
So, if you were a wedding, school, portrait, or pet photographer if you didn't know Terry personally, you certainly knew who he was. But you knew him because he was Terry Deglau the photographer, not because of his role in Kodak. He was a photographer, educator, writer, and friend to so many of us in the industry. He was perhaps the kindest most giving man I've ever met, and his passion for photography was unmatched.
I was president of Hasselblad at the time we met. After writing to Kodak and calling several times without a response, we chose to do a marketing promotion with Agfa. Management at Kodak was upset and sent Terry to meet with me to get the company relationship back on track. It was around 1989/90 at WPPI where we first met. There was an exhibitor lounge on the second floor overlooking the trade show, and that's where our friendship kicked off - and it only grew from there.
Within a few months, it was as if we'd known each other our entire lives. Our friendship was one adventure after another. We drove Ansel Adams' 1977 Cadillac and photographed Yosemite for three days. We started "Speakers Corner" between the Kodak and Hasselblad booths at trade shows. We were together on the annual snowmobile trip to Yellowstone each winter for ten years; then a father-son trip to Yosemite with my son Adam and his son Jim; and countless lunches, dinners, and projects together, year after year.
Always laughing about it, Terry referred to me as his evil brother, talking him into one adventure after another. The two of us complimented each other. We used to laugh about being like an old married couple. We knew each other that well.
Somewhere along the way, Tony Corbell, Terry, Don Blair and I became the Four Musketeers. We worked together on different projects; always caught up to each other for at least one meal at every convention and simply watched each other's backs. Our friendship existed in real time, since there was no Internet, Facetime, or Skype to keep in touch.
Terry's health wasn't always the best, and around 2005 he'd retired and was living in Florida in the Villages. After a stroke he wasn't allowed to drive, so we came up with a solution. I don't remember if it was Roy Madearis' idea or mine, but together with a long list of friends, we raised enough funds and surprised Terry with a 1957 Chevy replica golf cart. One by one, we all showed up at his house for the day of delivery.
As usual, Terry was clueless. My Dad and I showed up first, and told Terry we had to be in Orlando. Ralph Romaguera, who lived in New Orleans said he was just in the neighborhood and thought he'd stop by. The doorbell never stopped ringing.
Yesterday the industry lost one of its biggest fans, and many of us lost a best friend. I didn't have exclusivity on Terry's friendship, but couldn't be more proud to have been part of the circle of people who loved and respected him. In Don Blair's Guide to Lighting and Posting Body Parts, which was produced with Terry and Tony's help, I wrote:
"So the secret to creating great images really isn't a mystery at all. It just takes a photographer like Terry who loves what he does, a few good friends and an unmatched love for the craft!"
And to my buddy, Terry, you'll be missed more than you could possibly know. There are thousands of photographers whose lives you touched, and you'll always have a piece of my heart. Love ya man - until we meet on the next great adventure...
Note: A memorial service is planned for 11am on Saturday, Oct 19th, 2019 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Latrobe, PA. Hope many of you can be there.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.