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Vale Richard White (1949 – 2020)

The Australian photographic community has lost a cherished and talented figure, with the passing of Victorian landscape photographer, Richard White.

Richard White. Source:

Richard sadly passed away on May 7 from a heart attack at his home in Mansfield, Victoria. An outpouring of messages for Richard, who was taken far too soon, has come from across the photo industry.

Over 30 years ago, Richard turned what began as a hobby into a lifelong passion and career, by opening a photo studio in the Victorian country town of Benalla. A self-taught photographer, Richard was heavily influenced by the works and philosophies of the greats, namely Ansel Adams, Morley Baer, Brett Weston, Bill Brandt, and Arnold Newman. In 1995 he launched a successful workshop business, The Art of Photography, which saw him teach photographers in the local area, and expand to touring interstate and overseas.

Richard also served an AIPP Victorian State Division councillor and served as Victorian president for over eight years. He also clocked over 40 AIPP awards, which earned him the title of AIPP Master of Photography.

Here is Richard’s personal statement on photography, taken from his website:

‘Unfortunately photography has become too common. Is photography still an art form? For many it is difficult to take it seriously and to even consider that it could be used for artistic expression. It is the viewer who must make this decision. Do they see what the photographer is trying to convey through their images?
I have been asked why do I photograph? Well basically I am compelled to. It’s as simple as that. I am always looking for the beauty in front of me. Trying to make images from my heart with technical information from my head. Trying to make a visual communication. Hopefully it will give others an appreciation of what is there and with luck it will elicit an emotional response from the viewer.’

Fellow photographer and good friend, Mike Langford, remembers Richard as a passionate photographer.

Richard White was a very humble and private man with a huge heart and a very dry sense of humor. 

He shared his knowledge through his photographic workshops, calendars, books and regular features in Better Photography. 

In many ways, he is the father of Photographic workshops in Australia, taking clients into his beloved Victorian and New South Wales landscapes, to share his passion of both photography, life and the environment. 

Using his large format 5″x 4″ camera and black & white film, his photographs are pure, hypnotic and serene. His work was described by many to be likened to Ansel Adams and Minor White – he was their Australian equivalent. He subscribed to the belief that you need to be a master of the craft, before being able to express the art of the soul.

His work is the sublime expression of this philosophy – clean, studied and expressive. He taught many of us to slow down and to create studies of what we were photographing. To see, to understand and photograph with empathy. This is something that will keep him in my mind and heart for the remainder of my life.

As a member of the photographic community and as a close friend of Richard, our deepest sympathy goes out to his family – his three sons Daniel, Sean and Lewis and his wonderful wife Jan, all of who he described as his reason for living.

Vale my good friend and fellow photographer, we will all miss you.

Another close friend, Jeff Moorfoot, remembers Richard as a generous teacher and master of large-format photography:

Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Richard White [Free Radical #99]. I became good friends with Richard from the time we spent together on the Victorian Division Council of the AIPP back in the early ’90s and was a guest presenter at many of his Great Ocean Road workshops. We had many long, rambling conversations over the years over subjects on which we quite often disagreed. Richard was a traditionalist large format B&W photographer. He passed his skills on to hundreds of photographers here and abroad with his location and darkroom workshops. He was internationally recognised as a highly respected master of the craft of photography. Another good one gone. My sincere condolences to Jan and the boys.

Due to social gathering restrictions, Richard’s funeral will be live streamed on Thursday morning, May 21, at 10:25am Sydney time. Click here to attend.

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