Remembering Nicholas DeVore III

20 Jul

Click to enlarge fascinatingedly

Our staff-photographer Andreas Baier remembers Nicholas DeVore III:

The first time I got in contact with Nicholas DeVore III was when I was collecting the tutorial magazine «fotopraxis» which was published weekly by MarshallCavendish Ltd. These lectures were divided into different sections such as working in a photo studio, how to create a perfect black and white print, a photo-competition between an amateur and a professional and – for me of greater interest: The world of photography. In this drawer world famous photographers were introduced such as Irving Penn, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Arnold Newman, Ansel Adams, Jay Meisel, Yousuf Karsh, Ernst Haas and Nicholas DeVore III as well.

According to the article in «fotopraxis» and contrarily to that what is been written about him in Wikipedia, Nicholas DeVore III’s leap from an Aspen chair lift to retrieve Robert Gilka’s camera which the photo director of National Geographic had accidentially dropped was initially not responsible for Nicholas DeVore III’s assignments he started to realise for National Geographic only a couple of months after that. When Robert Gilka was visiting the photo class Nicholas was also part of it all students were supposed to present their portfolios as well as writing an essay about their future as a professional photographer. Gilka teased them and said that the best of all would face the unique chance to do a test job for National Geographic. And so did Nicholas. He was challenging him with a portfolio about the Galapagos Islands and – maybe much more importantly – he finished his essay with «I want you job!» Nicholas was convinced that this one line at the end of his essay gave him his breakthrough.

When I was studying the careers of famous photographers in «fotopraxis» I was 16 years old and this one line from Nicholas had influenced me very much. From now on I was planning my own career with nothing but the pedal to the metal knowing that doubts about oneself aren’t helpful at all. Nicholas DeVore III’s message was simple and clear: Just go for it and the rest will come!

Nicholas DeVore III et David H. Lyman dans la Camargue pendant les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie à Arles

I am not saying that Nicholas did not leap from an Aspen chair lift to retrieve Robert Gilka’s dropped camera. Since I was allowed to enjoy the luxurious advantage of having spent almost one week with him in Arles during the «Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie» I came to the conclusion that this guy is something very special and so I think it is most likely that he jumped. My parent’s were running an avant-garde art magazine called «Magazin KUNST» and a lot of famous artist were passing my parents’ office, sometimes they stood overnight, so I was already a little bit experienced in dealing with extraordinary characters but Nicholas managed it easily to even stick out of this portfolio of creative minds. Gosh, what was he crazy!

Maybe Ted Conover describes him in his obituary with this little happening best: «As I understand it, the magazine (National Geographic) began using him less following an incident in which he shot a pistol through the ceiling at a fancy party that he was photographing while on assignment». What I will probably never understand is that most of the people are complaining all the time that life is sooo boring and that nothing happens but when fate means good and has decided to be gentle and nice to them; and surprises these whining creatures with an outstanding present called Nicholas DeVore III they are not happy, no, they try to hide and to stay away from it instead. In my eyes he successfully managed to remain child with a constantly growing reservoir of adult’s experiences. I had one great and completely sober week with him, he taught me a lot about business structures, how to attract attention unconventionally, and, and, and …

It is said that Nicholas was 54 when he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Friday, May 16, 2003. According to Wikipedia he struggled with depression and alcoholism. His soul mate and muse Maria Izabel Bedini Correa de Sa thought and dreamed of him till her untimely death in 2010 from a self-inflicted gun shot wound: the magic power’s effect of having loved the right guy.

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